The M Factor: It's Now or Never

Love and war do not mix well together.

The M Factor competition is all-out war, as talented people from all over the continent compete for the chance of a lifetime. I still don't know how I am even here, among the talented.

Love isn't something that you could merely push away. It isn't a feeling you could just ignore. Which is why I struggle between the balance of love and war.

Which will win in the end?

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18. Never Saw It Coming

      "The person leaving the competition today is... Addison Carter."

 

        My knees turned to jelly. Tears brimmed my eyes, but I forced a smile and hugged my fellow opponent. My heart ached as the video of my journey in the M Factor played for everybody watching. A tear slipped down my cheek, as I quickly swiped it away and smiled. I knew that everybody was watching my reaction. 

 

        "We'll all miss you," Dermott lied, and I knew it. Everybody did. Nobody would miss me. I ruined my chances at being famous. Nothing ever happened with Jace and I. It was worthless.

 

      "Give it up one last time for Addison!" Dermott exclaimed. "Addison! Addison! Addison! Addison! Addison!" 

 

     "Addison!" someone hollered in my ear. I jolted straight up, just to see Kat, looking at me with a smirk. I felt my cheeks were damp, and my eyesight was blurry. My face got hot, as I realized the reason Kat was smirking. 

 

     "I hate you," I grumbled, removing the pillow from my head and smacking her with it. 

 

    "C'mon. Get up, get up, get up!" Kat sang, skipping around the room. 

 

    It had been seven  weeks since the first live show. Five acts remained, including Eagle Lane, Kat, Jace,  Olivia, and I. The competition was drawing to a close, which was getting my nerves raised high. We had another elimination show tonight, and I was frightened out of my mind, because I had an unsettling feeling. 

 

   "Shut up, Kat!" I groaned, using my pillow to cover my ears. 

 

   "You slept late. It's 3:00," Kat informed. 

 

   "What?" I shouted, jumping out of my bed. I was only in baggy cheetah sweatpants and a tank top, but I rushed to my suitcase and pulled out some real clothes- a floral top and shorts, throwing on sandals and sprinting outside with Kat.

 

    "Addison!" a familiar voice called. I turned to see Matt. I ran up to him and gave him a big hug. No, nothing has changed with my feelings for Jace- they only got stronger. I was uncontrollably in love with him. Yet, during this time change, I developed feelings for Matt also. It hadn't been just a usage anymore- I really did like him. But not as much as Jace. I really loved Jace.  

   

    I took notice that Matt's arms were limp, not tight like they normally are. I ignored this fact. 

 

     "About time Sleeping Beauty woke up," Jace snorted from next to Matt. 

 

     "Oh shut it," I giggled, smacking his bicep.  He laughed, quickly snatching away his arm. 

 

     "Addison...I have to talk to you," Matt whispered in my ear. I gave him a questioning look, wondering what may be so urgent. I followed him along down the hallway, peeking through the dressing room doors as we went. Anything to distract my brain from drifting off into the state of worry. He finally slowed to a stop, turning back to face me.

 

     "I like you, Addison, I really do." These seven words made my stomach drop, knowing what was coming. "But I think we should break up." 

 

     Tears brimmed my eyes, as I held back the waterworks. Why did I react so strongly? I told you, I liked Matt. And we had been going out, and I was just settling with him and beginning to like the relationship, when he drops this? 

 

    "Why?" I squeaked. 

 

    "For you," he admitted. "I don't want to do this either."

 

    "Then why are you?" I whispered, angry tears that burned rolling down my cheeks. 

 

     "Because..." he looked at his shoes, searching for the right words. "You love Jace." 

 

      I was so taken aback, I let out something in between a gasp and a squeak. How did he know? And why would this concern him? If he did like me, wouldn't he stay with me? 

 

    "But I want to be with you!" I whined like a little kid, fighting to stay with Matt. He engulfed my petite hands in his muscular palms, looking me in the eyes. 

 

   "This is for your own good. It's time you make your move, or you must forever hold your peace. You need to take your chance- you don't know when you might be getting out. You don't know when the last time you see him will be. And look, I'll always be right here for you when you need me." he said, and I saw the pain in his eyes as if he didn't want to say goodbye, or even see me cry.  I will be a supporting friend, and if things don't work out with you and Jace, hey- I'll still be single," he joked, trying to lighten the mood. All I did was clasp on to him, hugging him for the very last time as more than friends. 

 

    "Thank you, Matt. You are the best friend I could ever ask for." 

 

    We stood in the hug, knowing that once we got out of it, we'd be forced back into the cruel, cold world of reality. 

 

    "Now go," Matt instructed. 

 

   "Go where?" I asked, as we pulled away from the hug. 

 

    "Tell Jace the way you feel," Matt said. 

 

    "What? Are you insane? I can't do that- he has a girlfriend!" 

 

    "I don't mean talking," Matt said with a devious grin on his face. "Singing." 

 

    "Singing! But I already have a song for this week!" I protested. 

 

    "First practice is tomorrow- chose a song you feel is right." Matt explained. He saw my worried look, and smiled reassuringly. "You can do it, Addison. I know you can." 

 

    I sighed shakily, knowing that it was time to do it. I had to tell Jace. I was tired of waiting around. Mission: Tell Jace My Feelings was now in play.

    

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