The shift in atmosphere from the previous episode has lead us to this fork in the road, where we will leave behind the young Darunee and immersed with the mature, more grown up woman. Athit has also developed in his endeavor, becoming an adept farmer in his own right. One problem is slowly getting fixed while a new conflict is slowly getting introduced. The road to full fledge love is slowly simmering like a chef cooking a pot of stew that we know will be delicious. I am very pleased with the way this lakorn is progressing, but almost apprehensive with a new obstacle that our two leading characters will have to overcome. ‘Tis the working of the universe, I suppose.

***

Darunee stood before grandma and Aunt Kaew while drying her hair after her recent adventure and run in with the farmer’s wife’s childbirth. Excited and animated, Darunee recounted what had happened. Aunt Kaew asked her what her role was and she replied “cheering.” She told them that when she first saw the blood, she wanted to faint but Athit had cut the umbilical cord and handed the baby to her, and the rest, as they say, was history. She never thought she would be able to help anyone with something like this. Grandma and Aunt Kaew beamed at her change in reaction to Athit.

On the other side of the farm, Athit paced the confines of the worker’s cabin. He recalled Darunee requesting a gift for her achievement and what he had told her. Shaking his head, he scolded himself for doing that. I think he liked the idea of holding her too much! Kicking the dirt softly, Athit paced with a smile. The three stooges peered at him from the doorway and whispered to each other why the boss couldn’t sleep. They surmised that something must have happened at the strawberry farm. Something did my friends.

That morning, Uncle Kreang announced that everyone would be working for half a day today because grandma is throwing a party to celebrate Darunee’s last day at the farm before attending school in Bangkok. The farm workers joked that Toon shouldn’t bring his “show” to the party and that made Darunee wonder if it was a horror show. Not privy to the inside joke, everyone laughed. Toon told them that they needed to watch what they say or there will be an entrance fee. Lol. The attention turned to Athit when the workers asked if he had anything (even small and menial) for Darunee? Darunee looked uncomfortably away and said she’d rather not. Stumbling over her words and getting flustered because she recalled what the gift would be. Everyone wondered why she was flushing but they too were not privy to the inside joke.

At the cabbage garden, the farm workers continued to chastise Athit about getting a gift for Darunee. Athit felt that he didn’t have anything to give her since she already has everything. Tod advised that it didn’t need to be anything of monetary value, just that it came from the heart. So that got Athit thinking and with a basket of freshly trimmed cabbage, he made his way to the farmhouse. The workers watched him leave and Tod mentioned that he would take care of this “gift” on behalf of Athit.

Meanwhile Toon’s wife (the pot stirrer- figuratively speaking) encouraged Thongprasri to attend the party too. Thongprasri hesitated at first because she thinks that she would steal the thunder from Darunee, with her acclaimed beauty and all but eventually agrees.

Athit approached the farmhouse with a pretty basket of vegetables and on the steps leading to the house, he rehearsed what he would say. He figured that Darunee loves eating vegetables and would appreciate this presentation. However, he noticed that Vilai and her brood were visiting grandma and Darunee. He overheard that Vey had his mom searched high and low for the perfect gift for Darunee. It came in a small box, most likely expensive and pretty. Aunt Kaew walked in and noticed that Athit was standing at the steps. He told her that he brought this vegetable basket for grandma but didn’t want to intrude on the visiting time with Aunt Vilai. He handed the basket to Aunt Kaew and took off.

Vey donned the necklace for Darunee as Aunt Kaew walked in with the basket. Darunee beamed and complimented on how pretty and edible looking it was. Aunt Kaew told her that Athit had brought it for her but didn’t want to intrude. (Aunt Kaew knows everything!) Darunee peered at the door, searching for Athit and her face dropped when she didn’t see him there.

The party commenced! Skewers, party lights and a beautiful setting outdoors invites us to Darunee’s celebration. Vey is busy serving her as Athit and his farm workers meander in. Viyada immediately sees him and rushed over to give him a jacket she bought from Europe. Athit said that he couldn’t accept such an expensive gift but Vi waved it away with “don’t worry it was on sale!” She instructed him to wear it throughout the event to appease her.

The three stooges thought Athit looked very cool with the jacket and told him to head over to Darunee’s table and strike a conversation. Athit didn’t want to intrude since she was with her boyfriend. Ah, Athit likes to label things so she could remain off limits in his eyes. The three guys thought it was ridiculous and decided to put matter into their own hands.

Tod approached the table and announced that on behalf of the rest of the farm workers, he had a message to give Darunee. He wished her all the best with her studies and may she remain blessed. Darunee promised to do her best in school so that she may return to the farm to help out. Tod also had a song to present to her. Putting Athit on the spot, they handed the instrument to him and had him open the show. Athit played the instrument and Viyada gushed at how awesome he was.

Halfway into the song, the farm workers encouraged everyone to dance but since Darunee was the host, she needed to open the dance floor. “Hai Rak Mun Toh Nai Jai” came on as Athit and Darunee danced to the music.

Funny scenes ensued. Vi cuts in the dance and Vey started dancing with Nee. This was also when Thongprasri entered the scene and she busted out her moves and competed with Vi and Darunee in the dance. They were pushing each other so much that Thongprasri got sick and projectile vomited on Vi and Vey. Disgusted, they screamed in unison. Athit grabbed Thongprasri’s arm and told her that she needed to go back where she came from, now. Party’s over! Toon and wife escorted Thongprasri out of the farm. Thongprasri’s already showing signs that she’s pregnant!

Back at the farmhouse, Athit apologized to grandma for ruining the party. Grandma said it wasn’t his fault but Athit still felt responsible because Thongprasri was his wife. Changing the subject, grandma takes out an envelope and hands it over to him. It was his first monthly salary. She won’t be paying him for the overtime but she will give him the money they would make from selling the vegetables. Surprised, Athit gave his grandma respect and beamed. He would never imagine that he would receive a monthly salary. Grandma asked him what he intended to do with it and Athit told her that he will send all of the money to his family. He is able to sleep and eat comfortably while his family suffered. They needed the money more than he did. Grandma was happy to hear that and Darunee smiled at his thoughtfulness.

Finally, grandma broke the news that Darunee will be making her trip to Bangkok tomorrow and she wanted to know if Athit could drive her there.

As Darunee walked Athit out of the house, she told him that she was in a hurry to go to Bangkok so she could familiarize herself with the city. Also, she didn’t want to bring a car because she wasn’t a very good driver (lol, I think Athit could attest to that.) Nee then told him that if he didn’t want to drive her, she would ask Uncle Kreang. But Athit was adamant that he’d like to go, besides, he could also visit one of the customers there. Nee nonchalantly asked him if it wasn’t work related, did he intend to go? Shaking his head, Athit told her that it wasn’t a waste of time. What is a waste of time though, is sitting and thinking about how he could show her his congratulations. Nee looked at him shyly and told him that she would give him one more night to think about it and since the stretch to Bangkok is a long one, they had plenty of time to chat. Athit wished her sweet dreams when he left and as the door shut, they stood on opposite ends of the door happy with the interchange.

That night Darunee packed her clothes as well as the flattened little flower that she kept from him. Athit paced in front of the cabin again, contemplating on what he would say to her. The three stooges observed that he is very happy and couldn’t stop smiling.

The next morning, a sad cloud encompassed the farmhouse. Everyone was there to say goodbye to Darunee, as she ventured to live in Bangkok. Grandma gave her a Buddha pendant for good luck and Darunee tears up. She really didn’t want to leave her grandma but it was time to say farewell. Grandma told her that it was only a brief goodbye before they say hello again.

The farm workers were all crying as they each say their goodbyes. It was a sweet scene. Unfortunately a car appears, which belonged to Vey, who was here to take Darunee to the city. It turns out that Darunee would go with Vey instead and as she walked towards the car, she looked back at Athit, sorry that they weren’t able to have their conversation. And Athit stayed up thinking about it all night.

But they were meant to be. While at the small town, Athit went to the bank to send money to his parents and Darunee had to make a pitstop because Vi needed to pick up some clothing. As Athit walked out of the bank, and Darunee needed to go back to the car because she forgot her wallet, they ran into each other. She smiled and told him that if it weren’t for their forgetfulness, they wouldn’t have run into each other. I’m going to leave that to fate! Their smiles and natural conversation was so refreshing to see.

Athit found the gumption to finally tell her what he thought about all night. He told her congratulations and that she was talented- that grandma is very proud of her. Nee beamed at him but before she could respond, Vey appeared and ushered her back to the car- of course without making a few snide comments that he hoped he wouldn’t run into Athit at BKK.

But they weren’t ready to say goodbye yet. As Vey’s car pulled to a stoplight, Darunee noticed Athit walking on the street. She rolled down her window and hollered at him, “Thanks for accepting that I have not lost to you!”

He ran briefly after the car and waved at her. “Good luck!” he shouted. And finally, their closure before her adventure and growing up begins in BKK.

Settled at the university, Darunee penned a letter to grandma. She reported of her time there, the welcoming event for freshmen and that they randomly get a new buddy that they must care for during their term at the school. That buddy is Toonyanee (or Toon)- our new addition to the lakorn- she is feisty, considered beautiful by many men who pursue her but she was also a great friend. They clicked immediately and were BFF’s since then.

She asked about the farm and that she missed everyone there. She also mentioned Athit’s name but told grandma not to tell him that. Unfortunately, Athit was the one who read the letter out loud to grandma.

“Whoops, too late,” grandma teased.

Once the letter was finished, Athit told grandma that he was ready to plant the rice field. He would start with a small plot of land and cheaper grain as so to test it out. We continue to see that Athit is a hard worker and is pursuing his dreams. The most important part, even he doesn’t realize this, but he is also making grandma’s dream come true too. She never envisioned that she could pass the land on to any of her remaining blood.

The vegetable farm spread before our eyes, it is amazing indeed that it came from such a tiny seed. I appreciate that this lakorn also harps on the value of the land and that with hard work; one can see the fruits of one’s labor. The growth of the farmlands also marked the time that has passed.

In Bangkok, Vey runs into Toon and overtly flirted with her. She didn’t like him on the spot because he used his expensive car and pompous attitude to flirt with her. She told him that she was hi-so too and bought everything on her own without depending on her parents’ money.

The cold weather was seeping through the farm as grandma reports the going on’s of the farm to Darunee. Athit was the writer. She mentioned that with Athit’s care and hard work, the farm is doing well. They were also starting the rice plantation and as a closure, grandma promised not to tell Athit that Darunee asked about him.

Sitting at the picnic table across from her school, Darunee smiled widely as she reads the letter. She surmised that it wasn’t grandma’s handwriting so it would have to be Aunt Kaew. She wondered why Athit doesn’t get tired of all of his farming endeavors. Toon came to get her for lunch but as the two prepared to head out, Vey showed up. They all went out for lunch and we can see again that Toon does not like Vey and is really feisty with him. He asked them what they planned on doing afterward and since it was the end of the term, they would visit home.

Nee is back for a visit! She planned on staying until her term starts again. Surprising everyone at the farm, Darunee made her way into the farmhouse. Grandma and Aunt Kaew were pleasantly surprised and they all greet her with a hug. Aunt Kaew mentioned that it has only been a year and Darunee has grown up so much. Her hair style, look and wardrobe has changed. This was the new Darunee, and I like it.

So does everybody else. She decides to surprise Athit as well and went to find him at the now very large vegetable farm. It was so rewarding to see how much it has grown.

One by the one the workers saw her and were all shocked. At the same time they hollered her name. Athit glanced at the workers then noticed Darunee, standing there, like a vision before all of them. She was so different. The workers left so they could leave Athit and Darunee alone.

Meeting in the middle, Darunee said that she was amazed at how much the farm as grown. Standing before each other, as if the distance did make the heart grow fonder, Darunee said, “it’s beautiful here. Not because someone could have sat and played here, but it its now a benefit to everyone. Right, P’Athit?”

Her usage of “p” meaning older brother surprised Athit. He looked at her and stuttered. Darunee continued, “I’d like to call you P’Athit since I left for Bangkok but I didn’t dare and wasn’t sure if you would still be here today.”

“I’ve always been here.”

“I know, you have never abandoned the farm. I can see with my eyes how much you have changed this place, made this place better. Someone who has worked so hard and does so well deserved to be referred to as older brother (P) with no hesitation and with all of my heart,” Darunee looked at him. “Will you allow me to call you P’Athit?”

Athit could not believe his ears. “Yes, Khun Nee.”

“Nong Nee,” she corrected him. “Let’s work together and take care of this farm, P’Athit. Promise?”

She extended her pinky finger to him and they hook their pinkies. It was a poignant moment as they look into each others’ eyes amidst the vast land of vegetables. Athit looked so touched by the moment. It was a long time coming.

Darunee is so grown up and mature now. It was beautiful to see her grow up before our eyes, very believable within the span of time.

They walked through the orange farm and Darunee asked him if she could help with the rice field since she heard that he was ready to plant them now. As the talked, both referred to each other as P’Athit and Nong Nee, which caused the farm workers to squeal with delight.

This episode has really put me in a good mood!

That evening, the workers teased Athit at the cabin. Not able to stand it, Athit leaves. Uncle Kreang surmised that he doesn’t dare court or flirt with Darunee.

Darunee was in the kitchen helping Aunt Kaew with the meal when Jingjaew walked in with a baby. Darunee learned that it was Thongprasri’s kid- Tawan- and Aunt Kaew filled her in on what had happened. Everyone came to find out that Thongprasri was pregnant but not with Athit because it was a full term baby and way before Athit ever could have done any monkey business with Thongprasri.

I like how they didn’t drag the Thongprasri drama, it is a mere part of life that realistically can happen and everyone is forced to move on. Obviously Thongprasri tried to make sweet with Athit by following him around, but he gave her no mind. She is back to the original situation she had feared.

Darunee asked if Athit accepted the child.

“Yes,” Athit said as he entered the kitchen. That word made Darunee feel warm all over because she too was adopted. It touched her heart that he would take responsibility over the child.

Athit did mention that it wasn’t on legal paper or anything. Grandma chose to adopt and raise Tawan as another grandchild. For the first time in this lakorn, Darunee spoke of her situation. She went to her grandma with a smile on her face, “just like the way you had raised me right?” Grandma reassured her that Darunee was her sister, but Darunee knew better. This news brought more respect and love for Athit and grandma. When grandma heard them referring to each other has “p” and “nong” she became very happy. Especially because she didn’t have to force Darunee to say that. Her granddaughter is growing up in her eyes.

The Vilai and brood visited grandma once again and grandma invited them to the rice plantation. It was a funny scene to watch them get their nails dirty and fall in the water.

And a pending closure for Thongprasri.. she is the talk of the town and very ashamed at what had happened. Even her own family scolds her every day. However, all is not lost for her. The cop had been in love with her from day one and asked for her hand. He told her that he still loved her and will take care of her and Tawan. She was concerned how true he was because she was afraid he would end up hurting her. At the end of the day, he consoled her, and seemed very genuine as he held her and she cries.

That night Darunee and Athit were watching Tawan, waiting for his mom to get him. Athit told Darunee that he loved Tawan like another brother because he was very close in age as his younger siblings. Athit looked great carrying the baby.

Darunee said it was still a good thing that Thongprasri takes the baby to sleep with her every night. When Thongprasri finally appeared, Darunee told her that next time she should come earlier just so she could spend more time with the baby. At this young age, they grow up fast. Thongprasri, apologized and told them that she will do that next time.

Athit thanked her for telling Thongprasri to pay more attention to Tawan. Darunee couldn’t help but added that she wasn’t a kid anymore. Athit chuckled and told her that he knows and he believes her.

Just after a week, the rice is already growing. As Darunee, Athit, grandma and Aunt Kaew walked along the road, Darunee asked Aunt Kaew if she were the one to write the letters since the handwriting didn’t belong to grandma.

Aunt Kaew told Athit to write smaller next time. Darunee finally realized that Athit was the one to write it all along. Embarrassed she spun around. “You’ve written every letter?” she asked him. Aunt Kaew answered on his behalf, “and read every letter too.” Lol.

In the final scene of this episode, Darunee called for Athit, the storm is coming. Athit muttered “the rice” before he rushed over to Darunee. They made their way to the truck. As they drove towards the rice field, they met Uncle Kreang and the three farm workers halfway.

A storm wreaks havoc on farmlands, especially rice fields. By the time they reached it, it had already started to flood. Athit did not want to back away; he wanted to rescue the rice stalks they had recently planted. The rain slashed their faces and Darunee cajoled him to return to the farmhouse. She told him that grandma would be upset if she knew he would risk his life for rice. When he wouldn’t budge, Darunee grabbed his arms and encouraged him back to the car.

Soaked to the bone, they walked into the farmhouse, head casted down. Grandma rushed to them with relief. He apologized for his failure but grandma was not having any of that. She valued their lives much more than the rice field. It is what farmers battle every day: mother nature. And it is out of their control.

Solemly, the episode ends as grandma held the two in her arms.

Something is going to happen.. but we’ll have to wait until next week. Although the episode ended with a downcast feel, the whole episode still offered warmth and development of our leading characters, especially how the feelings are being developed even stronger as each day goes by.

Preview for next week’s episode:

Athit is furiously plucking the rice stalks from the flooded rice field. Darunee is yelling at him to stop, it’s no use, it has drowned. “There’s still hope,” Athit responded, “I’m going to revive them.”

Then on the root of a large tree, Athit told Darunee that if we use this (he points to his head) to remember, we may forget, but if we use this (he points to his heart) it will stay with us forever.

In the next scene, Athit is writing a letter to Darunee reporting that the rice grains has grown so much; the word pretty does not aptly describe it, only beautiful does it justice. He wished that Darunee could see them and await until she finishes school so she could witness its beauty. (He should try instagram..)

The next scene Darunee dropped the golden Buddha pendant that grandma had given her (this is a bad omen.) Back at the farm, Nah Kaew rushed to see Athit, yelling “it’s grandma! Grandma!” Indicating that something must have happened.

Based on the end of episode 9, the tone of the lakorn is turning angsty! Not to mention the introduction of Toon, Nee’s BFF, who may give her a run for her money when it comes to the handsome Athit!

*as usual, pictures credit to BarryYa and Torranee2012 FB

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