Second Chance

Emelia Richardson is on the X Factor. She wasn't meant to make it; she was the extra extra person, added to the girls competition. Emelia is just trying to survive and prove her place on the X Factor.

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14. Chapter 14

I nervously smoothed out my white dress, letting out a puff of air.

"Will you stop?" Ella said, grabbing my wrist. "You're going to be phenomenal!" I smirked at her.

"You're only saying that," I said. "You know that you're going to rock the house!" We'd finished performing Somebody That I Used to Know and we were all getting ready for our individual performances. The theme this week was Love and Heartbreak. Thank goodness I had gotten plenty of that this week. I pulled again at the dress again, wishing that I could have another legging-clad rehearsal of my song before I had to go onstage. I was right after Jahmene, who was first to perform, and Jahmene was already finishing up his Tears Dry on the Their Own Mash-up with Ain't No Mountain High Enough. It was amazing, and I was super nervous to have to follow after him.

"Emmy?" Ella's voice brought me back to reality. She was staring up at me with a reassuring smile. "You'll be fine!"

"I hope so," I said, squirming in my dress. I really missed my leggings. Why couldn't I perform in leggings and a sweatshirt? I'd be much more comfortable in that, and maybe then I'd perform even better.

"Why wouldn't you be?" Ella said. "You look amazing!" I looked down at me dress. It pooled around me in a gauzy white dream. There were cutouts in my sides, and another on the small of my back. Every edge was embroidered in sequins and rhinestones. I felt like I had too much missing from my clothes in the wrong places, and I wasn't very used to wearing dresses. I'd lied to the producers, telling them that I'd worn it and broken it in already, when, in reality, I'd only worn it once before, and it was only to see if it fit. Every other day, I'd glance at it and shrug, saying "Not today." I was regretting that big time now. "And I know that you'll sound amazing."

"Thanks Ella," I said, gratefully. I was already starting to calm down again.

"Emelia Richardson," one gruff man yelled out. "On in five." I started hyperventilating again.

"Emmy, honey, you're going to be all right." Ella's voice was edging panic, but I couldn't reassure her that I was okay. She even looked panicked, and as if she wasn't sure if she could grab me or not.  I wanted to tell her that I was okay, and that it was nothing, but I couldn't.

"Emmy?" Dan came, looking concerned. Mickey and Greg were flanking his left and right, looking equally concerned. "Are you all right?" He was always very rational, and the voice of reason when the rest of us (i.e.: Mickey and I) were being ridiculous. Even Dan's reassuring voice couldn't soothe me from my agitated state.

"I'm okay," I said, quietly, my voice sounding breathy and unsupported.

"Hey Chuckles," Mickey said, trying hard to sound light. "Remember when we found the bird and the frog in the park?" I did, but I couldn't reply to him. As hilarious as it had been, I was too afraid now to respond.

"You'll be fine Emmy." The last voice that I heard, surprised me, and I unconsciously took in a quick gasp of air. Josh was looking down at me, his face determined. JJ, Jaymi and George around him all looked equally concerned as the others.

"I'm okay," I said again, though I wasn't sure why. Josh grabbed both of my wrists, and I unwillingly whimpered at his touch.

"You're going to be fine Emmy," he said, staring me dead in the eyes. I wanted to wriggle away from him, but I couldn't break his intense gaze. "You'll be amazing." The corner of his mouth twitched upwards. I remembered what it felt like to kiss those lips. "It's just a little stage fright, that's all." He let go of my arms. I wanted to go back to him. I wanted to go to him and hug him and never let go. I was terrified of going out on stage.

"Josh-" I started. I had no idea what I was going to say. I guess it didn't matter what I was going to say, because I was interrupted anyways.

"Emelia Richardson is on," the same gruff voice yelled again. I felt a peal of terror rip through my body. It must have been broadcasted across my face because I felt a nudge come at my side, causing me to look up. I was greeted by Josh grinning down at me.

"Go rock the house," Josh said. I felt the corner of my mouth quirk up too, even though I wasn't thinking about even smiling to him. I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight.

"Thank you," I said, quietly. We'd gone all this time ignoring each other, and as much as I'd like to say it didn't bother me, it killed me. I'm just glad we're finally on speaking terms again.

I heard the logo music come on as they positioned me on the stage. The music of the photo montage before "Emelia Richardson!" was announced in the big voice. I winced at the length of my name. Everyone had an easy name to announce, but my monster of a name was slurred into almost one word. I'd have to talk to them and ask them to shorten it to Emmy.

The loud cheers greeted me when I heard the photo montage music finish. They'd told me that whenever I'd start singing is when they'd start counting. I stood in the darkness, engulfed by it and the silence that filled the stadium. I lifted the microphone to my mouth, but could feel myself hyperventilating again. The silence was deafening, and I was starting to freak out again. The silence was starting to stretch out far too long. I took a deep breath, remembering Josh's words.

"Go rock the house"

I will.

I filled my lungs, opened my mouth again, and sang.

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