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?


4. The First Cut Is The Deepest

   I unscrewed the cap on my bottle and put it to my lips, giggling at something Kat had said. Tanya, Ed, Gil, Jace, Kat, and I were all gathered around in a circle on the ground, surrounded by other contestants. We were all squished together in one room that barely managed to contain us all. Some people sat in other doorways just to not be squished. 


   "Everybody!" Dermot called at the top of his voice from the front of the room. He stood in the doorway, a handful of papers raised over his head. "The judges decided that we will be splitting you into three groups."


   "Oh God," Gil sighed, flipping his hair. 


   "It'll be fine," Jace assured. 


   "When you hear your name," Dermot announced, "join us on stage. Janelle Terence. Justin Liu. Emily Duffy. Alexis Cahill. Jack Kearn. Regina March. Jace McClain. Drew Potter. Mary Zykowski. Zack Cook. Addison Carter. Kat Thomas. Paige D'Antonio. Josh Hyland. Terrance Grace. Jackie Stone. Jennifer Miller. Ryan Taylor. Drake Gullizio. Lemar Wills. Aaron Fiori. Olivia Reilly. That is all." 


   "Good luck, guys!" Tanya exclaimed. 


   "Here we go," Kat sighed. "The first cut is the deepest."


   It took a while for all of these contestants to load onto the stage, but finally, everybody stood, facing the judges with hesitant looks. The cameras were rolling, and Gary began to speak. 


   "Was this a good experience for you?" he asked. These words stung my heart. He used was. I started thinking about all of the times I had, and the people I would miss. I didn't want to go back though. Not yet. I wasn't ready to deal with the heartbreak of seeing everybody and knowing that they think I'm a failure. I couldn't get out. Not when I had tried so hard all of these years to perfect my voice. I couldn't do this. 


   The majority of the people nodded yes, so Gary continued on. "Well, I have bad news for you guys." I saw Nicole flinch and look down sadly, as if to say she didn't want to say goodbye. This was it. This was the end.


   "You guys will be working hard for the next few weeks because you're all through!" Gary exclaimed. My jaw dropped as my knees buckled. I almost hit the ground but I came back up in time, unlike others. The next few moments went in a blur. I spun to the side and hugged Kat tightly, a mixture of relief and elation. The judges smiled warmly at us. Everybody had different reactions; some remained with their hands over their head on the ground, some had their jaw still dropped as they stood at the judges in shock, some screamed like crazy, and others, like me, hugged whoever they could find. 


   I swung to my left to see Jace. I saw his beautiful blue eyes widen in excitement, showing his perfect smile. Everybody around us were moving, so in the moment, I threw my arms around him and clung to him, having him lift me off the ground a little bit. 


   "Please exit to the right," Gary chuckled. The group dispersed, people still screaming. My jaws hurt from smiling too much, yet I couldn't seem to stop. We exited the opposite way of the way we came in, and we were put into a new room. 


    "Jade Gills. Jenna Smith. Emerald Fray. Timothy Mandato, Tanya Coleman, Gilbert Asher, Jane Tanner," Dermot announced. The happiness somewhat drained away, as the three of us waited for Eddy's name to be called. 


   "C'mon Eddy," Jace whispered to himself. Though, Dermot read many more names, and Eddy was not one of them. 


   "You don't think-" I began. 


   "I hope not," Kat finished. 


   "Mitch Young. Eddy Brooks," Dermot read. We all smiled, before realizing that all of them might not have gone through. 


    "You know, judging this is a hard thing to do," Nicole said, her voice hinting no other emotion but sadness. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them, being in their same position. "It's really awful to see these amazingly talented people go." 


    I could imagine the sullen look on everybody's faces- trying not to cry. "I'm sorry to tell you that you are going through." Tulisa exclaimed. Screams erupted from the stage, and from Kat and I. Jace whispered a "yes" and smiled. Kat and I, on the other hand, grabbed each others forearms and jumped up and down. 


   We were directed down a narrow hallway in the backstage, where we now stood at the back of the theater. Smiles were on all of our faces. 


   "We have somebody for you," Nicole said into the microphone. A backstage worker told us to go, and the first few people barged through the doors, the others following. We ran down the aisles, and everybody screamed excitedly like maniacs. Jace, Kat, and I ran to Tanya, Ed, and Gil. We all embraced in a group hug, then separate hugs. 


   "I really thought we were going to be out," Tanya gasped. 


   "So did we!" I added. 


   "We're all through, guys!" Kat reminded, and another course of excitement ran through us. 


   Sure, it was reassuring to know that we were all safe. But who knew how long that would last?


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