Running to her daily schedule and having updates from Kelsie about the media rooting for her and gaining 11,000 followers from this week. Her feedback from Marcus stays positive and the producer with the band enjoyed their time with her. The music video started to have a good story towards it and tested her acting skills. The idea they had for her video is about a young love story and she plays the owner of a bar and they order a drink from her while singing in the bar and a small crowd rocking out to her song.
Another exhausting day, she went back to the house and saw Rory pacing in the kitchen on the phone sounding angry. Ryleigh didn’t get most of it, but he slammed the phone down and stomped his way to the small music studio room.
Giving him a few minutes, she peered through the door and hears a piano sound and see him playing a symphony. It surprised her he knew how to play the piano and perched next to him on the stool.
‘I didn’t know you could play the piano.’ He continues to play and gives a corner smile.
‘It’s the first instrument I learned to play. Do you know how to?’
‘No, just the guitar. But it’s always been something I’ve wanted to try.’ He smiles and played a shot sequence.
‘Play that.’ She starts tapping with one finger, he laughs.
‘No you got to use all your fingers and they’ll flow with one another to make the melody.’ Rory grabs her hand and guides which finger to play on which key, she catches her breath quickly on how he strokes her fingers. ‘You try.’ She had a go on her own but started to get confused and giggled at herself.
‘It’s no use. I’ll need more practice.’ He starts playing again and she takes in the melody and it loosens her. ‘I can see why you play, it sounds so relaxing.’
‘It’s my way to calm down when things get to me.’ Rory remains playing ‘Which is why I’m here.’
‘People who I thought were my friends are selling me out to the press about all the stuff I’ve done and the media is resurfacing my court appearance and my criminal record.’
‘Then let them say all the bad stuff. You’ve got fans that’ll look past that and relate to your music and you’ve got some new friends too.’ Rory stops playing.
‘I appreciate your help, but this isn’t something I can’t change. All the stuff I’ve done years ago that was me then.’
‘And people deserve a second chance.’ Ryleigh assured him, ‘And your daughter doesn’t think of you like that, she thinks she’s got an amazing dad.’ Rory admired her commitment to put a smile on his face without seeming too vigorous.
‘She’s the reason I’m here.’ He says and starts playing again.
The darkness there is always some light,
You’re the one that fights my dark,
Opening your eyes had filled my hurtful heart,
One I didn’t know I had.
Your smile, your care, you’re always there,
No matter where I would go.
I’ll know you’ll be there when I come home.
Ryleigh gleams from his song and the love he has for his daughter.
‘She’ll be proud of you.’ Ryleigh told him.
Later that evening, having a big meal and some beers to chow down with music in the background chattering away. Her music video was finally completed and waiting for the rehearsal tomorrow, she wore her dark skinny jeans and grey vest top with a red flannel shirt, nothing special for an evening in.
‘I KNEW IT!’ Kaylin shouts at Harper and it brought attention to the room, ‘YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH HIM AREN’T YOU?’
‘What if I am? He prefers me anyway.’ She smirks at her, it didn’t take detective work on who they were bickering about.
‘No, you don’t like the fact that I’m prettier than you.’ Ryleigh resembles she’s watching some reality USA TV show and presumed it’s all acting, but it turns out people do fight like that. She caught Blake in the corner of her eye smirking, loving the attention.
‘Er, no I don’t think so. At least nothing is fake like you.’ It’s making Ryleigh ears ache and how Blake relished it and started to get on her nerves.
‘You two outside now!’ Ryleigh yells at them and they glanced at each other wondering what’s her problem, but the way she stared at them like their mother is telling them off and became frightened, the girls followed her outside.
‘Can you two put your heads together and stop taking your knickers off for a second. Don’t you see what he’s doing? He likes that you’re fighting over him, so instead why don’t you join forces and turn against him. Plus, what are you showing to the public who are watching you? Is this really what you both want to be remembered for?’
‘She’s right you know.’ Harper said, it took Kaylin a while to recollect what’s happening here and agreed.
‘Fair enough.’ And walked backed in. Ryleigh felt satisfied the girls will be able to focus on their music and tell Blake where to shove it.
‘Blake, I think we need to stop this for the time being.’ Harper tells him and Blake glances at Ryleigh annoyed.
‘Yes and start considering it might be better if we just have a threesome.’ Kaylin blurted.
‘WHAT? NO THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID.’ Ryleigh shrieked.
‘But you said to join forces?’ Harper said.
‘Yeah! But against him, because he liked the idea of the attention, oh forget it!’ She laid her hands over her face grasping this would be a losing battle.
‘Ah cheers Ryleigh.’ Blake grinned, ‘Sounds like a plan. You want to join us?’ Ryleigh looks up and flips her middle finger at him.
‘Go fuck yourself.’ She told him and he shrugs.
‘Suit yourself.’ Ryleigh gets up and strolls into the kitchen looking for another beer agitated on how her advice turned out. She leans on the counter downing her beer in defeat and made her way back to the living room.
‘You think they would listen.’ Elliot joked to her.
‘I didn’t tell them to do that, they took it the wrong way.’ She replied.
‘It really bugs you that bad?’ Ester joined in.
‘It bugs me that those girls are talented and they’re just throwing it away by becoming this reality persona that probably gets their own TV show in a few years time. All the effort they put into this will all be a waste.’
‘That’s their choice.’ Rory said. ‘You can’t save everyone.’ Ryleigh’s anger started to pass. ‘You’ve done it and they didn’t listen, move on from it.’ She composed his advice and shrugged from it.
‘Yeah I guess so. Please tell me they haven’t gone to…’ She noticed they weren’t here.
‘They went to the spare room upstairs.’ Ashton said.
‘Fucking hell.’ She murmured.
Another day for the live show and she felt much better than before, it felt right this time. Rehearsal went great, her hair and make-up team were really lovely and had a catch up with Kelsie.
‘Josh is getting stressed about Rory’s publicity. He can’t keep it under control.’ She explained to Ryleigh.
‘I guess there’s nothing he can do now they’ve dug it all out.’
‘No, but it’s all the fake news that come with it.’ Kelsie said there have been a few people declaring they’ve slept with him so they can have some money and showed an article on her phone. Ryleigh got upset about it like he would.
‘Have you found a way to cheer him up?’ Ryleigh asks.
‘I don’t think there’s anything that I can do. I’m hoping what you’re doing would help.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, it seems that Rory opens up to you and they have it all on camera, hopefully, people will see these things are fake.’ Kelsie said, Ryleigh didn’t recognise him opening up would change peoples perspective on him, she’s only helping him out as a friend would.
‘I never thought of that.’
‘Keep doing it because it’s working.’ Then Ryleigh had a thought.
‘Why don’t you tell Josh this was your idea?’ Kelsie looked confused. ‘Tell him that, it’ll make him feel better.’ She approved.
Ryleigh left the changing room to go to the green room and saw Josh and Rory having a tensed conversation. She didn’t want to overhear but from his body language it wasn’t going well, then Josh left to answer his phone and Rory jolted something on the floor in anger. He saw Ryleigh ready all dressed for her performance and he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she is. Black t-shirt with ripped denim jeans and a khaki shirt with her hair in a ponytail all wavy. It didn’t seem he wanted to talk, she noticed and went to him for a hug. He buried his head into her shoulder with empathy.
‘I didn’t do those things there saying.’ He expressed.
‘I know.’ He releases and looks at her. ‘They’re just people who think they can ruin other peoples lives because they’re bored of their own. Don’t let it get to you.’ He loosens and fixes her fringe out of her eye and she couldn’t stop gaping at him. They felt a connection and some spark.
‘10 minutes.’ A producer called out making them let withdraw of each other.
‘Come on we should get ready.’ She goes past and he grabs her hand.
‘Thank you.’ And he kisses her on the cheek, she reddens a little and walks beside her to the green room.
The show persisted well for Ryleigh, she got remarkable compliments again from the judges and how well her music video turned out too. Bruce lightly criticised on her melody changes but she took it with a pinch of salt. After Rory did his performance and got his feedback, he went to the green room with Ryleigh holding a beer ready for him to take.
‘Can you do this for every performance?’
‘Don’t let it go to your head.’ She joked. ‘Well done by the way.’
‘Thank you, but I’ve could’ve done better.’ Bruce was a bit harsh to him.
‘Ignore it, I think he’s had a bad day - we’ve all had it.’ He smiles at her, Ryleigh heard a ping from her phone from Russell,
“Great show :) Hope that song is meant for me xxx”.
She presents a small smile, directly she did wrote it for him a way of saying sorry, but it changed when she began recording and not sure why.
Standing behind the doors waiting to go back on stage to announce who is through, they stand with their coaches and Ryleigh is close to Rory. She has the anticipation to grab his hand on grip it tight, he looks at her with happiness and his heart hops, she squeezes his hand.
The doors open and she lets go, ideally she ached to hold on but the thought from Russell came back to her and wondered what he would think holding hands with another man. Standing on stage again, Ryleigh listened for her name to go through to the next round, the next person to leave is Jayden.
After celebrating another victory and farewell, they have a relaxing day in the house. Ester considered to have a night out in LA and most of them agreed with her, they plan to do that after their announced the next challenge. By the pool, the boys mess around in the pool playing water polo and the girls relax on the sun lounger. Her black tired up bikini fitted her beautifully and Rory can’t help but observe Ryleigh’s body.
‘Check it out, Ryleigh made the news.’ Ester called out and Ryleigh sit up to read the article on her phone, regarding the conflict she had with Harper and Kaylin and that her advice made them become attention seekers for the show.
‘Damn it, that’s what they think.’ And hurls the phone down.
‘I wouldn’t worry.’ Ester told her.
‘Thanks for the publicity.’ Kaylin tells Ryleigh and winks at her. She wanted a breakaway and made her way to the pool and sat in the shallow end.
‘Ryleigh come join.’ Elliot asks her, she shakes her head and graciously said no.
‘Hey Ry, your phone is ringing.’ Ester shouts out and she jumps out of the pool to see ‘Mum’ popped up.
She grabs a towel and makes her way into the kitchen.
‘Hey mum. How’s it going, have you been watching?’
‘Yes, you need to start minding your language missy on that show!’ That’s the primary concern her mum picks up, all the negatives first it apparently “builds character”.
‘Alright, I try not to. Anyway, what do you think? I can’t believe I am making it-.’
‘Darling please come home.’ Her mum cuts her off before she starts to ramble.
‘This isn’t for you. Just quit while it’s in the early stages. They tend to forget those people then.’ Even if her mum can’t see her face, it made Ryleigh’s jaw drop.
‘Why are you against it?’
‘It’s not for you, those type of people fall into heavy alcohol and drugs. Most of them look like they already hit that road.’
‘Mum, there not like that.’ Ryleigh defences her new friends.
‘That man you’re hanging around with used to be one.’ She recognised that her mum meant Rory.
‘His name is Rory.’
‘Well, I don’t like you hanging around with him. He seems trouble.’
‘Mum, I am 28 years old. I think I know when to judge if somebody is a bad person. But he’s left that behind him, now he’s learned his lesson from it. I know they aren’t showing much of the good things, but he is a good guy. There only showing what they want their viewers to see.’ Ryleigh said that from the bottom of her heart, no one shouldn’t be judged because of the way they look and what they’ve done. She had a good sense with a character and stays away from the bad ones, like Blake.
‘It’s upsetting to us and Russell.’
‘I talked to him a couple of days ago, he seems fine with it now. Why can’t you? All my life I always thought that I was directing myself away because it’s was a “safe choice”. I never took risks and now this is my time to, I know when it’ll be wrong and if it doesn’t work, I’ll come back home and return to what I know best.’ Silence passed down the phone.
‘Just be careful.’ Her mums says and hangs up, Ryleigh delivers a huff and spins round to see Rory standing by the doors. Stunned from his appearance, she’s curious to know how much he heard and whether he appreciates it. Rory listened when she said his name and how generous she stood up for him, it made his stomach flutter a bit more and wondered how this girl is possessing this effect on him? Nobody has done this, not even the mother of his child, something was different about her, her feisty spirit makes him go weak in the knees.
‘How long have you been there?’ She questions him.
‘Long enough.’ He replies and comes closer to stand in front of her, ‘You don’t have to do that, it’s not worth it. Like you said I can’t make everyone like me.’ He studies her imaging feeling her soft skin and she studies the details of his chest tattoo of a wolf around skulls with a women processing a skeleton make-up. Everything blended beautifully.
‘I just got annoyed with her because I hate that she judges first before knowing somebody.’ She remembered when she first dated Russell, her mum wasn’t keen on him to start with. Ryleigh was never sure what her mum thought the “perfect man” for her would be.
‘Thanks, but you didn’t need to.’ Rory smiles at her and she reflects.
Ashton walks in losing their concentration of thought towards one another.