The Bar-Coded Wrist

Renea had always had problems: personal problems, physical problems, emotional problems. The only way she knew how to rid that pain was to cut herself, but when her father - on his death bed - made her promise not to cut herself anymore she never does it again & instead replaces the scars with a tattoo of a bar code, the numbers being the date of her fathers death, and the day she stops cutting herself. But her father also wanted her to follow her dream of being a singer, and when her old teenage crush, Liam Payne, happens to be one of her judges & feelings start to develop , will she be able to keep the promise she made to her dying father?

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2. Fulfilling Promises

I lay in my bed, staring at the ceiling, and trying not to cry. It's been eight months since my father died and I still cry over him everyday. 

"This is pathetic, Renea. You should seriously stop" My daily pep talk. I got up and jumped in the shower, I had a big day ahead of me: College from 7-12, visiting mom from 12:30-2, and then the one thing that could change my life forever: The X-Factor auditions. And everything had to go just right. 

I had moved out of my mothers house 3 months after my father passed, I got my first, and only, tattoo five days later: A bar code on my wrist, the same wrist I used to cut myself on, the numbers being the day of the daddy's death, as well as the day I never cut again.

School went by quickly as I only had 3 classes that day. I went to my mothers house and used my spare key to open the door. I didn't expect a big fancy greeting, in fact, I didn't even expect her to be awake. My mom was an alcoholic, suffering from depression and anxiety. She drank all night, then would wake up every morning with a hangover. I came over everyday just to clean up a little and make sure she gets up and takes her meds. I found her sleep on the couch.. well half on the couch, half off. I pushed her completely on the couch and went to to get her meds and a glass of water. I made toast and put grape jelly on it. I walked back into the living room and woke my mom up. I turned on the news and told her to eat while I cleaned up the kitchen that, despite my cleaning it two days ago, looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a week. When I finished I walked out to tell my mom that I was auditioning for the X-Factor, maybe she would want to come with me, but she was asleep again. Oh well. I left her there and got in my car, I was stupid to think she'd actually come.

                                                                        ****************

 

I pulled into the overly crowed parking lot, my hands already shaking. I walk for what felt like forever until I finally got to the door. It wasn't until I walked into the air-conditioned room that I realized I was sweating. I walked pass a hug mob of people until I finally found what looked like a front desk. 

"Excuse me. Is this were I register?" I asked the lady. She looked at me and nodded. She looked tired, like she had been sitting there for days.

"Yes it is. I just need to see a picture ID". I pulled out my drivers license and passed it to her. She typed a few things into her computer and a piece of paper began to print from the printer.

"Your number is 234" She said.

"What number is on stage right now?" I hope it wasn't a long wait. She looked behind her at a glowing screen.

"128" She said. Just great. This is going to take forever.

                                                                 **********

"209...213...218..222..." The little old lady that came out to call the numbers was starting to annoy me. The closer she got to my number, the more nervous I got.

"230" I began to sing my song out loud just like everyone else. 

"231" I began to picture my life as a star.

"232" My leg began to shake. Oh, and my hands too.

"233" I swear I'm ganna have a heart attack.

"234" I began to cry. I jumped up out of my seat. The little old lady walked me to a little makeshift dressing room where a man handed me a microphone. I was walked to the edge if the stage, my heart beating so fast that I was pretty sure everyone in the audience could hear. I heard someone say next and the next thing I knew I was being pushed out on stage. I walked out instantly seeing the cameras, the tears came faster. I walked to the middle of the stage and looked out at the crowd.

"Hello. What's your name?" I don't know who said this.

"Um.. I'm Renea" My voive sounded stronger than I felt. One thing my daddy always said was it doesn't matter how you look or how you feel, your voice should always be proud. I finally looked down at the judges. Sitting before was (from right to left) Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and.. Liam Payne. Like THE Liam Payne, the one from the old boy band, the one who I share a birthday with, the one I used to fangirl over quietly in my room! Stay cool Renea.

"How old are you Renea?" Demi asked.

"I'm 19" I said. 

"And what will you be singing for us tonight?"  Nick asked.

"Almost Is Never Enough by Ariana Grande"

"Let's hear it love" Liam just called me love.. I started to sing.

" I'd like to say we gave it a try. I'd like to blame it all on life. Maybe we just weren't right, but that's a lie. That's a lie. And we can deny it as much as we want, but in time our feelings will show. Because sooner or later, we'll wonder why we gave up. The truth is, everyone knows." I sang the rest, perfectly I might add, and finished. It wasn't until I was done that I realized I had been crying.. hard.

"That was amazing! You sang that beautifully!" Demi said. 

"You don't know how much that means coming from you" I said. I had always looked up to her. She was so strong.

" That really was good Renea" Nick said. 

"May I ask why you were crying?" Simon asked this, and my heart instantly dropped. I didn't think anyone would ask. 

"Um. I-it was the song my father said I sang best" I said hoping that would be a satisfying answer.

"Oh. Is he backstage watching" Nick asked. I looked down at my shoes.

"No. He died last year.." I chocked and instantly covered my mouth. I was not breaking down again on national TV. I looked up again, did a quick swipe under my eyes, and looked at the judges. Simon looked.. well Simon just looked bored really. My heart started to beat fast, maybe he didn't like me. I looked at Demi. Was she crying? She stood up suddenly and walked towards the stage.  She grabbed my mick and put it behind her back so that no one would hear what she was about to say. She looked me in the eyes, tears streaming down her own.

"Your father would be so proud of you." I didn't know what to say. I just nodded, tears threatening to spill from my eyes. She handed me back my mic and gave me a hug. She went back to her seat. 

"Well then let's judge then shall we." Simon said. He looked at the end of the table. "Liam?"

"Renea, you're a fantastic singer. Such a soulful voice for someone who is only 19. It's defiantly a yes from me." THE Liam Payne just gave me a yes. Simon looked at Nick.

"Nick?"

"Yea, I agree with Liam. You're great. Yes!" 

"Demi" 

"Renea, I haven't heard anyone with as much power in their voice in a long time. And for you to come here despite the things you have been through, you're defiantly my idol tonight. Absolutely yes!" My idol just called me her idol.. Am I breathing? I know three yeses mean I'm through, but I want four! I looked at Simon & he looked at me.

"Renea," he paused. Why do they always pause? " I think you're fantastic! That's four yeses!"

I stood there, wide-eyed, mouth open. I didn't know what to say. The tears really started to come. I just smile, nodded, and walked off the stage! Is this really happening? I started running, until I remembered that there was no one backstage to greet me. I stopped mid-sprint and looked around. A few people smiled at me and I smiled back. I was about to walk back into the crowded waiting room when I saw the little old lady that was calling numbers earlier. Se was drinking coffee and watching the next contestant on the TV. Had she been watching me too? When she saw me she gave me a thumbs up and wave. I waved back and smiled. The little old lady didn't know it, but she had made my day.

 

 

 

 

 

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