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?


21. On Top Of The World

     "You're going to win for me, okay?" Kat confirmed, holding my shoulders. 


    "Yes, I promise," I smiled, sadness still aching in my heart. "I'm going to miss you so much. The competition won't be the same without you." 


    "Just think- I'll be siting at home watching you. I hope you feel the pressure to win now," Kat joked. I laughed, though I was going to severely miss her. She had just been eliminated from the competition, in a heartbreaking shock. 


     "We'll miss you, Kitty Kat," Eddy said, although he did not look satisfied with himself. When Kat turned around to say goodbye to him, Jace and I began to make crazy signals to tell him to make his move. 


    He hugged her, while swatting at us to go away. Jace and I were silently cracking up hysterically, as Eddy's cheeks turned a cotton candy pink. 


    "I'm going to miss you guys," Kat announced, turning around to us. We immediately changed our emotions to a straight, sad stricken face. 


    "Kat!" I exclaimed. "Eddy needs to talk to you."


    "Yeah?" Kat swiveled around. 


    "What?" Eddy stammered, shooting me a glare. "Come with me."


    Kat was dragged along by Eddy, who was staring daggers at us. We waved to him, laughing as he went. 


   "Wait for it," said Jace, as we waited in silence. 


    "WOOHOO!" a scream from outside called. We rushed to the threshold to look out, and saw Eddy jumping around and Kat laughing, watching him. She rotated her head to face me, smiling brightly at me. I let out a laugh too, as Jace and the boys from Eagle Lane were congratulating Eddy. 


   Although Kat was leaving, I knew this would be a moment I would reminisce, for things seemed to be going along smoothly, and everybody was joyous. 




     Saying goodbye had become a causality. 


     I hated every second of saying goodbye to Jace, who had placed in third moments ago. I gripped onto his shoulders, whining about how I didn't want him to leave. He told me that I needed to win for him. Great, second person to say that. 


    "It won't be the same," I pouted. 


   "You'll survive."


    "We'll take care of her, Jace." Matt said, putting his hand on my shoulder. 


   "I know you will." 


   "No, I'll be dead by tomorrow!" I cried, and the boys laughed.


   Jace said his goodbyes to the boys, and he came back to me. 


   "I wish you could stay." 


   "Trust me, I wish I could too. You'll do great, though, because you an amazing singer." Jace promised. 


    "This studio is going to be abandoned without any contestants," I sighed. 


    "Tell me about it- I have nobody to annoy now!" George teased, a boy from Eagle Lane. 


     "We have Addison," Eddy pointed out. 


     "Oh no! Don't leave me Jace!" I cried, and everybody let out a collective laugh. 


     The laughter died down, and even though nobody showed it, everybody was going to miss Jace. Although we had grown so used to saying goodbye, it still was never easy. 




    I gripped the microphone, feeling like I was back at my first audition. This was my last performance in the M Factor. I had chosen a song to show that I wasn't going down without a fight, and that I had struggled a lot through this journey. 


    Struggle I have. I have dealt with being alone, facing fear, mean girls, not to mention fighting for survival in the competition. But one thing kept me here. 




   I grasped onto my love for music- the only thing that was keeping me from falling and shattering. The love I had for my new friends helped also, for I had fear that if I got out, I would lose them. I had learned the true meaning of love and passion, and I know now that love conquers all. 


    "Please welcome, for the last time performing on the M Factor stage as a contestant... Addison Carter!" 


    The doors opened as I stepped down the stairs, the soft piano swaying in and out repeatedly. It was a pretty tune, played in the high keys. 


    "Skies are crying, I am watching, catching teardrops in my hand. Only silence has its ending, like we never had a chance. Do you have to make me feel like there's nothing left of me? You can take everything I have, you can break everything I am, like I'm made of glass- like I'm made of paper. Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper," I sang. Amazingly, a choir sang and hummed along with me from behind. I stood in the center of the group, singing all of my emotions out, about struggle and overcoming my fears. 


    "Go run, run, run, I'm gonna stay right here, watch you disappear, yeah. Go run, run, run, yeah it's a long way down, but I am closer to the clouds up here." 


   I stared out into the audience, embracing the feeling of performing for the last time. This stage- the stage that I know and love- will forever be my home. I hoped to go far after this, and that I would return to the stage I matured on. I went from being a teenager to a young adult in a matter of weeks. I remember when I had my first live performance, and how scary it was. I remember the first audition, interacting with the crowd. I never thought I would get this far. I didn't even think I would make it past the auditions. Yet here, I was, standing in front of millions, singing to win the finals. 


      "You can take everything I have. You can break everything I am, like I'm made of glass. Like I'm made of paper, WOAH!" The song built up until I was rock-screaming like Demi does in the actual song. Praying that I would be able to hit this note, I opened my mouth again. 


     I inhaled the musty smell from the stage lights, and focused on my voice. My whole journey has come to this moment. If I don't hit this, I will have a slim to none chance at winning. This was it.... 


   "Go on and TRY TO TEAR ME DOWN! I will be rising from the ground," I screamed, hitting the note with perfection. The audience screamed louder than they ever had, putting all their might into the screams that erupted."like a skyscraper! Like a skyscraper....!" 


   "Like a skyscraper," I finished, the last word I'd ever sing on the M Factor stage. The crowd roared with applause, and one by one they jumped onto their feet until the whole theater was standing up, including the judges. I couldn't prevent the warm tears of joy to spill from my eyes, as I covered my mouth. This meant so much to me. 


    Time froze. I was in the moment, where everybody embraced me, and I embraced them. This was my dream, and it was happening. I was at the top of the world. 




    "Good luck. Step right onto that platform. The walls will open in a minute," the head crew man instructed. I side-stepped onto the platform, Eagle Lane next to me. 


    "Good luck, guys," I said, for we were about to find out who was going to win. I had never felt no nervous in my life, but I wouldn't be broken at all if I didn't win. I had the experience of being at the top of the world, and that was all I ever wanted. I learned a lesson I could take throughout my whole life. 


    "You too, 'lil red," Eddy said, patting me on the shoulder. 


    "Is anybody else as nervous as I am?" a boy from Eagle Lane, Pete, asked. 


    "Practically peeing," Matt joked, and we all bursted out into laughter, only to be shushed by the crew. 


    "Please welcome, your 2012 finalists, Eagle Lane and Addison Carter!" Dermott yelled from the other side of the wall. The walls slid open as we strutted down the stairs. I waved to a mob of girls carrying Addison Carter signs, which caused them to scream louder. Tulisa and Louis were already on stage to greet us, and stand by us as our mentor. 


    "Good luck, Addison. I knew you'd come this far," Tulisa muttered in my ear. I thanked her, too nervous to make small talk. 


      "Alright, let's look at each of their journeys," Dermott declared, gesturing to the big screen. First was Eagle Lane's, and it showed clips of their separate auditions and a clip of them being grouped together. They showed one line of each song they sang, up until last night's performance, which was Forever Young- typical boy band song. 


   My clip started playing, as they showed clips of my photo-shoot with my name flashing in white. The first clip they showed was my audition, singing Firework and 'wooing' the crowd. Next, Us ran through the theater in the speakers, in my boot camp performance. After that was the live shows, one line of each song until they played the crazy note I hit last night. Following the note was my explanation of why I wanted to win. I began explaining my love for singing and the connection that I have with the stage. 


   "Well, now that we have seen both of the journeys, it is time to announce the winner," Dermott explained to the camera. 


   The lights dimmed, as I looked to the ground in fear. I remembered why I was here, and why I worked so hard to get here. So what if I couldn't be crowned M Factor champ? I'm here, where my goal was, and I was technically famous. Money would be just an added bonus. 


   "And the winner of the 2012 M Factor" Dermott dragged on the announcement, killing everybody on the inside. "ADDISON CARTER!" 


    My knees buckled as I almost fell to my knees. Tulisa gripped me into a hug, preventing me to fall. I started fangirling, jumping up and down like crazy. Unexpectedly, the boys of Eagle Lane were clapping for me. They walked over, embracing me in one, huge, bear hug. I laughed in joy, although I was shocked I didn't cry. Confetti bursted down from the ceiling, as the audience screamed and stood, cheering me. for I just stood there, like a blob, as my mind tried to process the news. I had done it. 


   I won the M Factor. 




    I walked down the hall, everything still a blur. It felt like time was going three times too slow. My backpack was slung over one shoulder. Everybody I passed congratulated me. Random people, like the custodians, would give me a high-five, or sometimes even a hug. My body still trembled in excitement. 


    I passed Eagle Lane, who were throwing around a paper football like regular boys. They engulfed me in another giant bear hug, as I whined in protest. 


   I walked into the main hall of the backstage, where I was met with my family: my parents, my brother, and my sister. They ran over to me, hugging me ever so tight. They were just as thrilled as I was, and proud that I had done it. I trailed outside with my family, still not seeing Jace or Kat like I had hoped. Why would they come? They lost- so why should they see me win? 


   When we reached the outdoors, I was suffocated with screaming fans, begging for pictures. I dazed right through them, taking pictures, signing autographs, and conversing with them. Finally, I was able to escape to my car, hopping in the backseat. 


   The car ride home was full of excited talk, and predictions of what is to come in the future for me. I stared out the window, answering the delighted babble, but only halfheartedly. On this ride home, I realize I had everything I ever wanted, but nothing I really need. What I need is the comfort and presence of my friends. Something that I didn't have at the moment. 


    When we got home, Mum tried to act like there were no a hundred people hiding behind the couches, but when the lights flickered on, everybody jumped out at me, screaming. I laughed, and played along with everything. The last thing I wanted to do was seem ungrateful. I did allow my eyes to browse around for my M Factor friends, but none were in sight. 


   "Yo, Addison," a deep voice greeted, I swiveled around to see Kat, Jace, Gil, and Tanya lounging at the kitchen island. 


   "You guys came!" I exclaimed, throwing my arms around them. There was a big group hug. The rest of the night was spent sitting at the same island, talking with them and Tammi (who blended right into the group) including Eagle Lane, who showed up "fashionably late" (as Matt likes to word it). 


   Most people think that the M Factor doesn't give you anything you need to know in life- just money and a career. I'm here to protest. Like I mentioned previously, I had gotten everything I ever wanted, not to mention everything I ever need. I had my friends and family surrounding me, and the sweet love of music. Hey, I said it before. 


   Love conquers all. 


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