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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17. Walking On Thin Ice

    "That was amazing," Gil gushed, appreciating the little things in life. 

 

    "Are you kidding, mate? That was boring," Eddie retorted, who was antsy to get out of the London Eye. As slow moving as it was, it was my first time being in the Eye and I adored the experience. 

 

    I heard my iPhone buzz, and I looked at it to see 17 missed calls, all from Matt. Noting the urgency, I quickly redialed the number and held it up to my ear. 

 

    "Addison! Where are you?" Matt's worried yet relieved voice breathed through the phone. 

 

    "I just got out of the London Eye." I hesitated, pondering on if this needed more explanation. Deciding it was too urgent for explaining, I moved on. "Why, what's happening?" 

 

    "They are searching everywhere for you, Kat, Eddy, and Jace. Hurry back as fast as possible!" 

 

    "Of course! Bye!" I quickly hung up, no time for gushy goodbyes. 

 

    "What's wrong?" Jace asked worriedly. 

 

    "They are looking everywhere for us, c'mon!" I exclaimed. It took one round of exchanging looks before we sprinted through the streets. 

 

    "Gil and I are taking a taxi back," Tanya jogged after us. 

 

    "Goodbye! Sorry for having to leave so abruptly," I apologized over my shoulder. 

 

    "Hakuna matata. Good luck!" 

 

   With that, Gil and Tanya stopped running behind us. 

 

   "This is bad," Jace panicked. 

 

    "We just need to stay calm," I said as we slowed from a sprint to a run. 

 

    "I can't believe this is happening," groaned Kat, who was usually the bad girl of the group. 

 

    "Stay calm, guys!" I pleaded. 

 

    We pushed through the hundreds of people, jogging all the way up to the X-Factor studios. We darted in and immediately was met with Matt, who was waiting by the entrance. He raised his eyebrows at us, for we were all drenched in sweat from running 6.7 miles in the past 45 minutes. 

 

   "Bad news. The producer wants to see you in his office." Matt announced, giving us a pitiful look. 

 

   "Can't we just pretend like we didn't know we were called?" I thought aloud. 

 

    "Well, funny thing. I kinda told Mrs. Donovan where you guys were, and she told the producer... and the rest is history," Matt tried in the most nonchalant way. 

 

    "MATT!" we all hollered in unison. 

 

    "Ah! There you are," a posh voice came from around the corner. Mrs. Donovan strutted up to us, glaring as if she was trying to kill us with her mind. If looks could kill... "Where in the name of Lord were you four?"

 

    "We lost track of time, ma'am," Eddy apologized desperately. 

 

     "Save your pleading for Mr. McCann," she snapped, grabbing a hold of Eddy's arm and dragging him down the hall, the rest of us obliged to follow. 

 

    "Really, this is unnecessary, ma'am. We're here now, and we promise to never do it again," Kat begged, walking alongside Mrs. Donovan, who stared straight ahead. Eddy tried to loosen Mrs. Donovan's grip from his arm, wincing every time his arm sagged back into place. 

 

    "Would you please STOP," Mrs. Donovan shrieked, halting abruptly. If I didn't see it coming, I would have continued to walk straight into her. She then turned to the huge oak door and knocked on it twice. "Mr.McCann?" she called in a fake polite voice. "They're here."

 

    "Come in," called McCann from the other side. Mrs. Donovan twist the knob and gave the door a gentle shove with her hip. She swung Eddy in, letting go, the rest of us following hesitantly. 

 

    The man who sat in front of us was a plump man, with salt-and-pepper hair sprawled atop his head. His forehead was sweaty, and his fingers were folded in front of him. He raised his hand and gestured to the chairs in front of his desk. There was only three, so Eddy took the hit and stood beside Donovan, who remained strong and strict. 

 

    "Mrs. Donovan?" he said in a surprisingly calm voice, with a trace of gentleness. "If you may." 

 

    "Right, sir. Thank you." she nodded once, scurrying out the door. 

 

    "Tell me," McCann declared, looking down at his thumb, then looking back at us. "What were you doing away from the studios?" he snarled. Any assumption of his gentle personality was lost, as he grimaced at us disapprovingly. My stomach felt unsettle, and I now felt nauseous.The skeptical look upon the other's faces made me think they feel the same way. 

 

    "We...we just went out to have a little fun, sir. We lost track of time. By no means did we want to lose track of time," Jace explained bravely. 

 

   "Have a little fun?" McCann chuckled dryly, no trace of happiness involved. "HAVE A LITTLE FUN? You want to know hard I work to make sure your bums are here and ready to perform? You don't think I want to have a little fun? Do you think I can? No! I have a responsibility, and you can't drop your responsibility, even if it means disqualifying all of you!" 

 

    "No!" I gasped, as all of the others let out a collective gasp. "Please, sir! This is our dream, and we really didn't know!" 

 

    "And how would keeping you around benefit me?" McCann wondered, interest reeled in. 

 

    "Well... you'd lose three weeks off of your show. That means less money for you," I proposed. McCann scratched his bare chin, pondering on the situation. 

 

    "I suppose I do need the money," he said to himself, looking up at the ceiling in thought. His attention was turned back down to us. "Fine." 

 

    I let out a quiet breath I had been holding in, feeling relieved and grateful. "But do it again, and there will be no exceptions. 

 

    "Thank you, sir. We promise we won't. Thank you so much," Kat thanked. 

 

   "GO!" he hollered. We leaped from our seats, the exact opposite of a ballerina, and scampered out of the office. When we swung open the oak door, nosy Mrs. Donovan stepped back, obviously eavesdropping. I shot her a glare as we swaggered down the hallway, relieved that we had gotten out of it. But it had been close. 

 

     Too close.

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