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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11. The Live Shows

    As I clutched the microphone in my hands, I couldn't help but feel like I was at the audition all over again. I felt like I was about to lose my lunch. My bones trembled, not having the comfort of my soothing mother. I knew that everybody would be watching, and I couldn't mess up.

 

   Why was I so afraid? I wasn't sure. The stage is my calling. Performing for people is my love- my passion. So why was I shaking like a leaf? Questions swam through my mind, taunting me. From my refuge behind the stage, I could feel the heat of the plentiful lights hung from the stage. I had practiced on this stage before, but never had it felt so real. 

 

   Of course it felt real. I was living it. My body was numb, hence the reason why I didn't feel myself being guided down the hall and trailing to the stage. I was inches away from it. I knew when I got on the stage, I'd feel better. But right now, I couldn't feel anything. 

 

    "You'll do fine. You're a ball of energy, you'll make it through." I turned around to see Jace. Immediately, I through my arms around him, embracing the way his leather jacket felt on my studded black shirt. The way his cologne traveled through my nose. The way he leaned his head against mine.

 

   I hadn't seen him since before the Judge's House, not being able to see him. His presence fulfilled me, giving me the same confidence and comfort that Mum used to give me. At the moment, in all of the excitement, I had forgotten about what happened with him and Olivia. 

 

   "Oh, Jace! I was wondering if the thing between you and-" I began before being rudely shooed away by the crew. I sighed, but I was more relieved that I had been comforted. 

 

    "Please welcome from Tulisa's team... Addison Carter!" 

 

    The walls opened up as I stepped up and trekked down the stairs, smiling back at the people who screamed their heads off. My heart got an excited jolt, and I felt the same welcoming feeling I do when I perform. I was home. 

 

     The music began in my one earpiece, just in case I had difficulty hearing the music. The lights blinded me, making me unaware of the audience. I could just make out the square shape of the camera lens, as I opened my mouth. 

 

   "Shine bright like a diamond." The crowd roared again, knowing what song it was. 

 

    As we got further into the song, I reached out to different sides of the stage. I would attempt to make eye contact with the judges, but when I couldn't I'd look out into the theater or into the camera's lens. 

 

   "So shine BRIGHT!" I sang as apart of the bridge. The audience cheered, delighted that I had hit and held the high note. 

 

    I finished the song, catching my breath. They dimmed the lights a tiny bit so I could see the judges faces. They all smiled back at me, besides Louis who remained with his lips pursed. 

 

   "Addison!" Gary exclaimed when the clapping began to die down. I looked at him, with a half smile, a bit discouraged with Louis's unsatisfied face. "That was absolutely fantastic!" 

 

    The audience cheered in agreement. I laughed and waved to the audience, thanking them for the great honor of being on stage. "Thank you." I heaved into the microphone. 

 

    "Addison, you are just a ball of energy!" Nicole beamed. "You are such a performer, and I could totally see you winning this competition!" 

 

   I grinned from ear to ear, after my jaw dropped to the ground. "Thank you so much!" 

 

   "I have to agree with Nicole and Gary, you're absolutely stunning, and I am so pleased right now," Tulisa complimented me. I clutched my chest, mouthing out a thank you to her. 

 

   "Now, Addison. It was a good song choice for your voice, which can go to many different angles and heights. You interacted with the crowd, which I always like to see. But the way you moved and danced around on the stage," Louis judged, as I clutched onto the microphone and waited expectantly. What was he going to say? "...phenomenal." 

 

    My jaw dropped as I doubled over in shock, thanking each and every one of them. "Addison!" Dermott said, swaggering on stage as the crowd cheered. "The judges loved your first live performance! How are you feeling right now?"
 

   "Amazing," I breathed, beaming. 

 

   "I bet. Did you feel equally as confident as you did with your own performance?" 

 

   "I guess. I mean, to have the judges and the crowd like it... it makes me feel like I did good." I nodded vigorously, trying to catch my breath. 

 

   "Give it up for Addison Carter! Voting lines will be announced at the end of the show. Thank you, Addison! Coming up next, we have more performances by your top twelve contestants. We'll  be right back!" 

 

    The cameras cut, and the crew rushed over to the judges to make sure everything was right. The audience conversed among themselves as I walked into the backstage. I walked down the hallway alone, back into the contestant lounge. 

 

    "Nailed it!" Kat cheered, giving me a high-five. I sat down next to her, letting out a sigh. 
 

    
    "Addison!" Jace called. I looked up at him, telling him to go on with my expression. "What were you saying to me before you went on?" 

 

    "I want to hear this," Kat mumbled with a smirk. 

 

    "You and Olivia are a thing?" I said, with a fake amused look on my face. 

 

    "Yes we are," Olivia jumped in, hooking her arm with his. "I don't see why you care?"

 

   "Not saying I did," I shrugged, leaning back and folding my arms. 

 

   "Good job tonight, Addison!" Matt said, squeezing next to Olivia. 

 

    "Thanks, Matt!" I said, truly honored. Kat, Olivia, and Jace all glanced between Matt and I. And when I glanced in Jace's eyes, I could have sworn I saw jealousy.

    

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