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?


9. Patience Is Key

    "Oh, did he?" I wondered, attempting not to overdose on the positivity. I obviously did not achieve my goal, because Olivia grinned slyly.


    "Yeah. We're going public during the live shows," Olivia confirmed, like she knew she would go through them.


   "That's wonderful," Kat snapped, sarcasm very clear in her voice. The way Kat's eyes pierced in Olivia's eyes made it obvious we did not want to interact with her. 


   "I know, right? Love at first sight." She crossed her legs and folded her arms, leaning back in the couch. She clearly was oblivious to the signs Kat was sending. My muscles tightened, but I remained patient. Patience is key. 


   "Is there a reason your telling us all of the things we don't care about?" Kat asked, figuring she might as well get it over with.


   "I thought you might want to know," she shrugged, pursing her lips together. 


  "We don't," Kat and I chorused in unison. Olivia scowled, before shrugging her shoulders. 


  "You're loss." 


  I was fuming, but I couldn't let it show through my physical appearance. I slipped out of my seat and walked to the window, watching Tara, fidget while she sang. She was good- belting out the notes that matched the slower version of One More Night by Maroon 5. I found a relaxed smile on my face, as I appreciated the talent of the young girl. 


   "Is she any good?" Tanya wondered. I jumped slightly, obscuring it with a cough. I had forgotten Tanya and Abigail were there, watching our mini cat-fight. 


   "She's amazing," I nodded, staring at Tara in awe as she walked away from Tulisa. 


   "Great, even more competition," Tanya snorted, crossing her arms in insecurity. 


   "You'll do fine," I assured, being truly sincere. 


   Tara scampered back into the waiting room, behind the serious assistant. The assistant's appearance screamed business: she had the stereotypical tight bun, with what looked like hair gel. Her spectacles were balancing at the edge of her nose, hanging on for dear life. Her eyes were stern, but her face showed no emotion. She wore a black jacket and an unfitting matching pencil skirt. She wore black heels, and what I think was tights, because her likes were a different color than her face. 


    Tara kept her eyes locked on the ground. Her curly black hair obscured her face, but I knew there lay hopeful brown eyes behind it. She wore a black shirt, with lace on the shoulders. She wore leggings in combat boots. She flipped the hair out of her face and over her shoulders, her eyes darting around as if looking for answers. Her mouth twitched like she wanted to say something, but she bit back the words. 


    "Tanya Coleman?" the strict assistant read from her clipboard. I gave her a reassuring smile as Tanya nervously followed the assistant. I knew she was going to do fine- I just knew it. 


   I stared outside into the backyard, to see Tulisa muttering a request to an obedient worker. I would assume Tanya would be getting out of the hallway (or as I previously named it, the Hell Hall) and talking to the camera. I tried with all my might to ignore my reflection that was facing me through the glass window, but I couldn't. I looked at myself- the reflection was faded, but you could just make out my details. I couldn't help but notice how much I've changed. The reflection over the past three weeks as remained the same- maybe my hair grew a bit longer. But the inside changed tremendously: I have matured so much. I took everything 10% more serious than I did before. As I looked into the hazel eyes that belonged to a familiar face, I took notice of determination: hope. I would do anything to win this. I wanted it so bad. I couldn't go home- I didn't want to be known as the M Factor reject. I had to win. I was going to.


   "If you ever leave me baby, leave some morphine at my door," Tanya began to sang, squeezing her eyes shut in concentration. Or maybe it was just because she was too antsy to make eye contact. Her voice was beautifully shaky- and it wasn't because of her nerves. It was scratchy yet beautiful, in an angelic way. 


   "I'm not going to miss that voice," Olivia snorted. 


   "What's that supposed to mean?" Kat snapped angrily. Olivia was satisfied that she was finally getting the bad side of Kat- her goal in the first place. Well of course Kat would be angry, she was making fun of our friend!


    "When Tanya gets out." Olivia shrugged, as if it was nothing. 


    "You listen here, Olivia. I swear to God, if you ever say-" 


    "GUYS!" I yelled, throwing my hands out in exasperation. Abigail and Tara gave me a thankful look to say that if I hadn't done it- they would. "Look. I will never be friends with you, Olivia. I've never wanted to."


   Olivia threw her hands up and let them fall, as if I was the bad guy. I just held my palm to the same height of her face, to say I wasn't finished yet. "But all of this bickering? Wouldn't things be a thousand times easier without this fighting? It's like we're back in high school." The girls nodded their heads in agreement, except for Olivia who held her head high arrogantly. "We all have one thing in common- we want to become famous. We want to sing for our lives, instead of having some boring job. We want the prize money to support our families- pay for our college funds. We're all on the same boat. So no, we don't have to be friends. We don't even have to acknowledge each other. But this fighting isn't doing anything. So let's just stop."


   "I agree!" Kat exclaimed. 


   "Me too!" added Abigail. 


  "Same!" Tara nodded. All of our heads turned to Olivia, who still looked selfish and smug. I gave her a questioning look, exhaustion behind it. "Well?"


  There was a long period of silence. We all stared at Olivia expectantly, making her squirm under the pressure. "Fine."


   I smiled in relief, thankful that we could all be at peace now. By the look on Olivia's face, I could tell that she wasn't going to be best friends with us, or even friendly with any of us. It would still be war. But if she hadn't agreed to it, then she knew we would all team up against her. It was smart of her to accept. 


   "Olivia Reilly?" the assistant grumbled. I jumped, not even noticing the two figures emerge from the Hell Hall. Olivia sprung from her seat, rushing to the assistant without looking at any of us. For the first time, I had seen fear and nervousness in her eyes. 


   "What happened with her?" Tanya wondered, noticing the change with her too. Instead of answering, Kat and I shared a knowing smile.

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