Fate; and destiny.
Friendship, networking, connection; and love.
It’s all it takes… how people linked to one another and have their path crossed.
Eight different people.
Four separate love life.
ONE unique story.
And by this, it’s all started 20 years ago… by two people.
Qing Xi Village.
5-year-old Cheng Lin opened the door and lifted her head up and looked at the sky. It is already dusk, which means it is not sunny anymore and she can come out and play. She quickly closed the door and then ran to her mother who is in the kitchen preparing dinner.
“Mom, I wanna go out and play… can I go?” she pouted as she lightly pulled her mother’s shirt. “It’s not so sunny now,” she added.
Mrs. Yang sets the restriction to her little daughter, Cheng Lin, that she can only go out and play with the neighbors’ kids on a less sunny day and time; because being sweaty under the hot sun will causes young kids heatstroke. Just a form of protection.
“Sure, dear. But we’ll have dinner soon, so you don’t get to play too long,” Mrs. Yang said.
“OKAY!” Cheng Lin immediately turned and rushed to the door upon hearing the approval from her mother to go out and play.
“Lin mei mei!” a young kid stood in front of Yang’s home.
“Tian ge ge!!!” Cheng Lin called upon hearing her close friend calling for her. She opened the door and looked at Xiao Tian who is standing in front of her, clad in his school uniform.
Xiao Tian is an 8-year-old boy who lives a few houses away from Cheng Lin’s. Xiao Tian’s residence in the village is the biggest, nicest looking house and is the only house fully made of bricks when the other houses in the village are partially bricks with a mixture of woods. A total village-look.
However, Cheng Lin’s house; which has bricks and wood planks as the wall, is located at the nicest and at the best location/view in the village. Cheng Lin’s house is located next to a lake, and right at the ‘end’ of the lake there are hills, creating the best scenery for one to wake up looking at with. In front of her house, there is a small, simple lightweight wooden structured pier that extends to the side of the lake. Cheng Lin likes to sit at the pier, but she knows; she can only sit there if she is accompanied by her parents, or Xiao Tian.
Xiao Tian’s father is a businessman, which explains where they have the money to build a nice house in the village. Mr. Zhu was based in the village and one fine day decided to go to the town and tried his luck in business. He finally succeeded and he became a renowned businessman in town; and right now he is based in Taipei, which is about 4 hours drive away from the village. Xiao Tian and his mother are staying in the village, and his father would come back once every 2 weeks.
Being in the village, Xiao Tian and Cheng Lin had known each other almost at the birth of Cheng Lin’s, and they mingled around with each other and other kids. It is their everyday routine to go out and have fun every evening with other kids in the village. And Xiao Tian would often go to Cheng Lin’s house and called her if he didn’t see her around in the park. And Cheng Lin will do the same thing to Xiao Tian.
It is a happy, carefree and safe village. All the villagers are nice towards each other.
Xiao Tian, despite is only an 8 years old boy, he cares for Cheng Lin and understood her parents’ restriction. Mr. and Mrs. Yang would be fine with Cheng Lin going out and play with Xiao Tian. It seems they do trust Xiao Tian.
“Aunty!” Xiao Tian suddenly called.
Cheng Lin turned to see her mother walking behind her. “Mom?”
“Hello, Xiao Tian,” Mrs. Yang responded. “As usual, take care of Cheng Lin, okay?”
Xiao Tian laughed. “As usual, aunty. Will do!”
“Okay,” Mrs. Yang smiled as she closed the door after Cheng Lin ran out from the house.
“So what are we going to play today?” Cheng Lin asked.
“I am not sure,” Xiao Tian turned and looked at the park. “But today there’s not many friends around…” he said sadly. “Then maybe we can sit at the pier!”
“Okay!” Cheng Lin said.
And with then Xiao Tian and Cheng Lin sat down at the pier, overlooking the lake.
“My dad is coming back today, so we will go out for dinner later,” Xiao Tian said. “I’ll get you some sweets later, okay?”
“Oh!” Cheng Lin said. “Thanks, Tian ge ge!”
“But don’t tell your mommy, okay? She will scold me!” he said, putting his finger at his mouth that represents to ‘keep quiet’.
“Yes! I will not tell her!” she said and she puts her finger at her mouth, copying what Xiao Tian did.
Xiao Tian laughed. “Okay,”
Two days later, 5.30pm.
“Lin mei mei!” Xiao Tian called happily as he saw Cheng Lin sitting at the bench of the park. He walked towards her.
“Tian ge ge…” Cheng Lin said softly, her right hand harshly rubbed her right eye.
The smile on Xiao Tian’s face went off as he looked at Cheng Lin’s sad face.
“Lin mei mei? Why are you crying?” he immediately sat down next to her.
Cheng Lin slowly extended her left hand out and showed her palm to Xiao Tian. He looked at her palm and saw a red line on her palm.
“Mommy saw me eating the chocolate sweets you bought for me yesterday… she caned my hand,” she said, “And she scolded me…”
“Har… I’m so sorry…” Xiao Tian said apologetically.
“She said I can get sick if I eat too much, and I will spoil my teeth!” Cheng Lin said.
“Did you eat all 10 that I have given you in a short time?” Xiao Tian asked.
Cheng Lin looked at him, “Not 10… but I already eat 6,”
“Lin mei mei… you cannot eat all like that… you should only eat one a day!” Xiao Tian said. “Aiya…”
Cheng Lin looked down as more tears rolled down her cheek.
“Aiya… it’s ok. You have already eaten it, don’t cry…” Xiao Tian said.
It started to drizzle.
“Ah… rain,” Cheng Lin said, looking up at the sky.
Xiao Tian looked up at the sky too. He then turned looking at Cheng Lin. “Come,” he suddenly stands up, grabbed her hand and pulled her.
“Huh?” Cheng Lin asked, running forward with Xiao Tian.
“Let’s play in the rain!” Xiao Tian said, standing in the middle of the park. Both his hands grabbed hold of her hands and they run in circles under the rain that seems getting heavy.
“Mom will scold me, Tian ge ge…” Cheng Lin said.
“She’s already scolded you, right? Then let it be!” Xiao Tian said and slowly he sees Cheng Lin smiled and laughed happily under the rain, running in circled with each other. “Rain will make my Lin mei mei’s tears and sadness go away!”
“Yeah! Rain will bring all tears away!” Cheng Lin smiled.
“YANG CHENG LIN!!!” Mrs. Yang yelled at the end of the park, with both hands on her waist. “It’s raining so come back home!”
Cheng Lin pouted her mouth. “Mom scold already… and I need to go,”
“It’s ok, Lin mei mei. Don’t be sad. Remember, the rain will bring your tears away. So be happy!”
“ZHU XIAO TIAN!”
Xiao Tian looked over and saw his mother standing next to Mrs. Yang, with both her hands on her waist, and she looked angry too, just like Mrs. Yang.
“Here comes my trouble too. I need to go home already. So I see you tomorrow, Lin mei mei!” Xiao Tian said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Tian ge ge!” Cheng Lin smiled happily.
And they both ran to their mothers and had an earful from their mothers while running back to their homes under the heavy rain.
2 weeks later, 5.45pm.
“Tian ge ge!” Cheng Lin saw Xiao Tian sitting alone at the bench in the park.
Xiao Tian had his hands folded on his chest, and his sight focused on the other kids running in the park. He didn’t seem to notice the calling.
“Tian ge ge!” Cheng Lin sat down next to Xiao Tian and called at his ear.
Xiao Tian jerked up and then turned looking at Cheng Lin. He smiled. “Lin mei mei,”
Cheng Lin smiled and then she turned looking at the kids running around. “Why didn’t you join them? And why you did not come to my house and look for me?” she turned looking at Xiao Tian.
Xiao Tian remained too focused and did not hear her again.
“Tian ge ge…” Cheng Lin shook him.
Xiao Tian turned looking at Cheng Lin. “Har?”
“I ask you why you didn’t join them,”
“I don’t want to play,” Xiao Tian said. “Don’t feel like playing,”
“Har?” Cheng Lin asked.
“Lin mei mei…” Xiao Tian turned and looked at her. “I’m moving,”
“Moving? To where?” Cheng Lin asked.
“Moving to city with dad. He said it’s time for us to move to city now,”
“Where is city?”
“I don’t know. I know it’s the place where dad had his business. Dad has been there for few years and he wants us to be there. He told me I will have new friends there and studying there is better,” Xiao Tian said. “And that means I will not be in Qing Xi Village anymore,”
Cheng Lin looked at him. “And that means I won’t be able to see you and play with you anymore?”
“Yes…” Xiao Tian said.
“Oh…” Cheng Lin said. “But I think it is good for you to be with your dad after all the years he is alone there. I think you should go and accompany your father too,” she smiled.
“Mom also said the same thing to me,” Xiao Tian said. “I will miss this place,”
“When are you leaving, then?”
“Dad is coming back in 2 days. When he goes back to city, mom and I will follow him. No wonder mom packed all the things in the house up for the last 2 weeks. I only know about all this today,” Xiao Tian said. “He said I am too young to understand,” he rolled his eyes. “I don’t understand adults’ thinking. Telling me things at the last minute is what adults do,”
Cheng Lin bites her lower lip. “I will miss you, Tian ge ge. I know you are always there to cheer me up, buy me sweets, plays with me… and now you are going off, I will not have those already,”
Xiao Tian smiled. “Then rain will cheer you up for me. So each time you see rain… you will remember running with me in the middle of the park. If you are not happy, rain will put a smile on your face. Will you remember that, Lin mei mei?”
Cheng Lin smiled happily at Xiao Tian. “Yes, I will remember that. Rain will put a smile on my face,”
10 years later, Taipei.
Xiao Tian, age 18, walked in his new place of study, University of Ying De. One of the most reputable universities in Taipei. It is his first day of class. He smiled looking at the spacious university, which is surrounded with green fields and trees around.
Xiao Tian had a bag slings across his left shoulder to his right hips. He is clad in a dark blue tee with khaki pants. He looked at the signs pointing to where the auditorium is for his first class.
Xiao Tian turned and looked at a guy about the same height as him, wearing sunglasses. He is clad in a white shirt with black cargo pants. He also had a bag slings across his chest and his both hands are tucked in his pants. He must have worked out, he had a great body which is obviously noticeable despite is covered with his white shirt.
“Yes?” Xiao Tian asked.
“Do you know where is the auditorium?” he asked.
“Oh… I’m looking for it too,” Xiao Tian smiled. “You’re also going for the orientation today?”
“Yeah. You’re a student of ‘Performing Arts’?” he asked.
“Yes,” Xiao Tian smiled.
“Great. I found my new classmate, I’m Vanness Wu,” he extends his hand out.
“I’m…” Xiao Tian said, grabbing his hand. “Err…”
“Err?” Vanness asked.
“I don’t have an English name, so to speak. My surname is Zhu,” Xiao Tian said. “People tend to pronounce my name wrongly until I need to correct them each and every time; getting tired you see,”
“Oh, so you want an English name?” Vanness asked.
“Better still before I start my class,” Xiao Tian smiled. “Apparently I meet you already,”
Vanness smiled. “Then you can get one now before you meet another,”
“Not too sure what name that I want…” Xiao Tian scratched his head.
“Give me your favorite letter,” Vanness said.
Xiao Tian jerked at that word. “Simple and easy to remember. Ken it is,”
“Nice to meet you, Ken Zhu,” Vanness smiled.
“Nice to meet you too, Vanness Wu,” Xiao Tian smiled. “And thanks for the name,”
“No problem,” Vanness said. “Let’s find the auditorium. There’s still 15 minutes before the class starts,”
“You mean orientation,”
“Oh yes,” Vanness smiled. “The auditorium signs are misleading,”
“Yes… apparently I saw one sign at the other way and it happens to be auditorium 3 instead of auditorium 1 that I am looking for…” Ken said.
“There’s another auditorium sign,” Vanness pointed over, extending his hand right in front of Ken.
Ken halted back at the act of Vanness just in time before he slammed his face on Vanness’ hand and immediately turned his head to look at where Vanness pointed. “Let’s find out,”
After 2 signs, they managed to find the auditorium.
“Goodness, this auditorium is difficult to locate,” Vanness said as he pushed the door.
“Whoa…” Ken said as he enters the auditorium.
The auditorium is big, and there were so many people, filling almost more than half of the auditorium.
“So many people,” Ken said.
“Everybody loves performing,” Vanness smirked. “So where should we sit…” he stood next to Ken.
Ken saw a row of seats about four rows from the front which only has 4 seats and located next to the pillar. But only 3 seats left as one person has sat leaning against the seat and the pillar.
“Ever wondered why people opt to sit at the back and not front?” Ken asked, looking at most people filling up most spots at last few rows at the back of the auditorium.
“So they can sleep when lecturers talk on boring topics,” Vanness said casually.
“Then why some students sit at the first row?” Ken asked, looking at the first 3 rows from front that is already filled full. He also noticed some girls locked their eyes on him and Vanness.
“Those are really people that worked and study hard. If you happen to miss some notes in the lectures; borrow from them. They won’t miss a thing. And they will pass their exams with flying colors,” Vanness smiled. “And stop questioning me like I am on examinations now,”
Ken laughed as he walked to the 3 empty seats and he sat down next to the person whose head is leaning on the pillar. He abruptly lifted his head up from leaning on the pillar and looked at Ken.
“Hi,” Ken said, as Vanness sat down comfortably next to Ken, leaving an empty seat next to Vanness.
“Hi,” he said. “Performing Arts student?”
“Yes,” Ken smiled. “I’m Ken Zhu,” he introduced.
Vanness smiled, Ken is now using that name Vanness had just given him for sure.
“Vic Zhou,” Vic smiled.
“He’s Vanness Wu,” Ken said, pointing at Vanness.
“Hi!” Vanness said, lively.
“Hello,” Vic smiled at him.
“Do you know how many students are there in the class?” Ken asked.
“Hey, you really like to ask a lot of questions,” Vanness said.
“I’m hunger for information,” Ken smiled.
“And I’ll keep all the information to myself, HEH!” Vanness said.
Ken laughed. “That’s call selfish!”
“You both were best friends?” Vic asked.
“We just met down the hall outside when we are looking for the auditorium,” Vanness said at Vic.
“Oh,” Vic responded. “You both sounded like you know each other for quite some time. I thought you both joined the class together so as means to have friends in the class,”
“Amazing. I know him for less than 10 minutes and you already said that!” Ken said.
“But he’s right. Maybe we can really be best friends,” Vanness said at Ken. “And Vic can join us too,”
Vic looked at him. He smiled before he turned away. ‘That’s the best joke I’ve ever heard. Best friend only know each other’s names and not their personality and chemistry with each other? You’ve gotta be kidding!’ Vic thought, as he slowly leaned his head back to the pillar again.
“We’ll see about that,” Ken laughed.
Vanness smiled as he looked around, only to meet the eyes of a few girls in the auditorium. He smiled and nods lightly to acknowledge them and then the girls would giggle and turned away.
More and more students walked in into the hall, and then one person; with one of his hand tucked in his jeans, he pushed the door casually and walked in into the auditorium. Girls turned their heads looking at him. He smiled at them and then he looked around, to see the empty spot next to Vanness. He walked to the spot.
“Hi, is this seat taken?” he asked Vanness.
“No,” Vanness smiled at him. “Hi, first day at Performing Arts?”
“Yes,” he sits down on the empty seat. “I’m Jerry Yan,”
“Vanness Wu. This is Ken Zhu and that’s Vic Zhou,” Vanness said. He then turned looking at Ken and Vic, “Jerry Yan,”
“Hi,” Ken and Vic said together.
“Hi, all of you are friends before this?” Jerry asked.
“NO…” they said together.
“We just met,” Vic smiled.
“Oh. Alright,” Jerry smiled.
It was silence among the four for a while. Vic remained leaning his head at the pillar, Ken looked at his clasped his palms while waiting for the orientation to start, Vanness looking around and keep smiling at the girls and new classmates, and Jerry folded his hands on his chest staring at who-knows-what-he-is-looking-at somewhere mid-air.
“Err… we’re utterly quiet,” Vanness said.
Vic, Ken and Jerry turned their heads looking at Vanness.
“I agree,” Ken said.
“Then let’s talk something,” Jerry said.
“So what do you want to talk about?” Vic asked.
“Err…” they all said.
Then they remained silent again.
“So…” Jerry said. All of them looked at Jerry. “I know there are many areas of ‘Performing Arts’ and there are many courses branching out from ‘Performing Arts’ after 1st year, which means we might be in the same course only for the first year, and then we’ll part and study different courses next year and so on…”
“Yes, 1st year is considered as the foundation for all the ‘Performing Arts’ courses, and so 2nd year onwards until our 4th year we’ll focus on one of the offered major, then we’ll study our major based on what we want to do when we graduated our course,” Ken said.
“Yeah. So what do you want to be when you graduated from this course? Or… what makes you want to study ‘Performing Arts’?” Jerry said. “Let’s start with Vic,”
Vic smiled. “I want to be an actor,”
“Why acting?” Vanness asked.
“You get to play different roles in life,” Vic smiled. “I get to be someone I am not,”
“Ken?” Jerry asked.
“I want to be a film producer,” Ken smiled. “I want to be involved in film making from beginning to the end. I like to be in the production team. How about you, Vanness?”
“HAR?” all of them said.
“What?” Vanness asked.
“You can just go and dance somewhere and get hired. What’s the point of studying performing arts?” Jerry asked.
“I want to get a certified degree on this field. In ‘Performing Arts’, you get to study the foundation, the audience, the staging, the art of performing and everything! Dancing is an art of performing. I want to go further than just being a normal dancer just because I can shake my butt,” Vanness rolled his eyes. “I want to be a certified, experienced and professional dance choreographer,”
“You got a very good elaboration on that. Then, Jerry?” Vic asked.
“I want to be involved in show hosting. A host for events…” Jerry said. “Get to be on stage and meeting many people,”
“Oh…” all of them said.
“And so maybe I get to produce a film with Vic as the casts, and cameo appearance of a dancer which is Vanness… and Jerry will get to host about my film in his show someday!” Ken said.
All of them laughed.
“Very good imagination, but that sounds very good!” Jerry laughed.
From that day onwards, their friendship blossomed. All four of them became close friends. Due to their good-looks that grabbed attention, and their great passion in their studies that they passed with flying colors each and every time; they are called as Flower 4, in short F4.
Why ‘flower’? Because ‘flower’ represents ‘the highest/best representation and is at its best, finest part’, and the word represents them well…
And also, some called them JVKV due to the first letter of their names.
Either way, F4 or JVKV, that’s them: Jerry, Vanness, Ken and Vic.
They were together most of the time… until their first year of studies ended.
In second year, all four of them pursued different majors in the same university but at every given opportunity such as breaks, lunch, and after class times, they will group together and chat, talk, laugh, or play basketball… whatever it is, together.
That’s how they started.