Sitting in the green room waiting for her turn, she watched Ester on the TV delivering her song. Her performance was perfection and got her screamo section right. Ryleigh is twitching her right leg attempting to calm her nerves, Rory set his hand on her knee for it to stop.
‘Sorry, it must’ve been bugging you.’
‘Don’t be nervous you’ll be fine.’ He smiles at her and she reflects, her name was called out and made her way to side stage waiting to go on, she thinks through in her head on the technique she’s been told to do, remembering all the lyrics and deciding to ignore everything that has happened this week. The stage is pitched black and when the first note is struck the limelight is set on her.
I’ll know will make it through,
Even if you don’t think it’s true,
Believe me when I say,
There is no other way,
Let me speak the truth as I’m doing this for you.
The music took her away and the crowd went wild for it with a standing approval by Marcus, she took a deep breath, the adrenaline rush almost caused her cry.
‘Ryleigh, I felt every emotion that you pulled through that song, the screamo part was spot on for what it’s for. Well done.’ Marcus said to her, Aimee and Bruce gave alike remarks, the only critique is she could of moved around more on stage. She walks back to the green room with a big grin on her face with her associates applauding, Rory went to hug her and spun her around, he placed her down and moved her hair behind her ear.
‘I knew you could do it!’ He said and her smile got bigger.
‘You’re right, it felt amazing when you forget everything and live in the moment.’ She clung onto his arms. ‘Thanks.’ They gaze into each other eyes for a second and he puts his hand behind her back escorting her to the sofa to watch Jayden take the stage.
Ryleigh went to the toilet quickly when they had a break and bypass the fridge to get some bottled water.
‘Got one for me?’ Rory speaks in her ear and held onto her waist, she smirks and passes him a bottle.
‘Isn’t it your turn now?’ They walk back to the sofa.
‘Yes, but I’ve got a few minutes yet.’
‘And you want to spend it with me? More fool you.’ She joked.
‘I love to though, you seem to calm me down.’ She bumps him and he smiles back.
Rory makes his way to the stage and Ryleigh’s phone went off from Russell sending a text.
“You told me nothing is going on between you and him but yet I see you with him acting like a couple. The camera doesn’t lie. Is this your way of telling me it’s over? If it is, it’s a shit move to do, make a mockery of me in public.”
She studied at it but didn’t perceive the purpose of becoming upset anymore she had no reason to be, her experience here should be filled with good vibes and negativity like that shouldn’t spoil it. Her affection for Russell is slipping away and the ring on her finger started to become meaningless to her, she caught the crowd went silent and Rory started to sing.
I won’t look back at the past, it’s brings nothing but shame,
There’s nothing that can stop what I’m feeling now,
We’re not the same
My heart can’t take it and you won’t bring me down,
Can you hear that sound?
So fucking come on
His melody and the rhythm became enjoyable and got the crowd excited for it, his stage presence was captivating, everyone was on their feet cheering. Ryleigh couldn’t help but applaud either, she enjoyed it very much. After the feedback he made his way back to the green room, she couldn’t wait and went backstage to find him and jumped into his arms with her legs around his waist.
‘That was amazing.’ She said and removed herself off him, ‘I mean well done.’ She adjusted her jacket and went bright red on her cheeks, he kisses her forehead.
‘Thank you.’ Ryleigh didn’t know why she had to do that but it felt right too, her friendship with Rory grew stronger and perhaps worried this isn’t a friendship anymore and could be something else. Shoving that aside and made her way back to the room.
Eager to go back on stage for the results, she felt the nerves going through her, one-by-one their name had been called out and Ryleigh was with the last three, Harper, Tessa and herself. This is it, she’ll be in the bottom two and just know it. The pause for impact actually bugged her and wanted it over and done with, the host called her name going through by the skin of her teeth. She couldn’t help but react with her hand on her chest and her jaw dropped, she was directed to move off stage. As she follows Marcus off her legs turn to jelly and pitched on the closest thing she could.
‘You’ve done it.’ Rory tells her.
‘Yeah but only just.’
‘I don’t believe that they did it to break the tension. Bet you were the most voted tonight.’ He winks at her. Ryleigh body trembles retrieving from it and stands up again. ‘I’m looking forward to our breakfast tomorrow.’ He says and smirks.
The next day, she slowly opened her eyes and picks up her phone to see some more messages from Russell, he’s been texting overnight. She chose not to open them, it’s not the time in the morning to get frustrated. Ryleigh picks up her phone and makes her way downstairs to smell something fresh and sweet, it surprised her because she’s usually the first one awake. Downstairs she can see the back of Rory with his vest top on and jogging bottoms display some of his visible tattoos, she makes her way to the kitchen and leans on the island.
‘You’re up early?’ She states and makes him jump.
‘Fuck Ryleigh you scared me.’ She laughs at him.
‘It smells nice, what is it?’
‘You’ll see.’ He smirks at her, she sits on the barstool chair and places her phone down and can’t help but gawk at him, with the movement of his arms and the concentration on his face. Rory grabs the plate and places the food on to her.
‘Ta-da pancakes.’ They had the perfect circle and golden-brown like you’ll see in diners.
‘Be careful, everyone else will want these too.’ She taunts, he leans forward closer to her.
‘It’ll be our secret.’ He whispers and winks at her, the phone on the counter vibrates making her lose eye-contact, another message from Russell. She views the name and turns it over as she doesn’t want to spoil this morning, Ryleigh takes a bite, the texture and flavour made her groan.
‘God these are good. Did they teach you to cook in prison?’ He laughs.
‘No, I’m just good at it.’ He shrugs.
‘You’ll have to make me breakfast every morning while I’m here.’
‘No don’t be lazy.’
‘I’ll do your washing, I mean laundry.’ Rory raises one eyebrow considering it’s a good suggestion.
‘It’s a nice offer, but no thanks. Make your own breakfast from now on.’ He leans closer to her again and tears a piece of the pancake and takes a bite, Ryleigh frowns supplying him the puppy dog eyes. ‘It may be cute, but that’s not going to work.’ He smirks at her.
‘Worth a try.’ She smiles at him, they gape at each other and her heart is sprinting fast. Rory lifts his hand stroking his thumb on her lips.
‘I don’t have anything on my face.’ She speaks softly.
‘I know.’ He leans forward further and she waits for him to make a move, this wasn’t right but she wanted it to happen for some reason.
A buzzing noise came from the counter and lasted for a long time.
‘You should answer that.’ He tells her disapprovingly and she picks it up to see Russell calling.
‘I’m sorry.’ She tells Rory and runs upstairs to the private room.
‘Hello?’ Ryleigh says.
‘Why have you been ignoring me?’ Russell spats at her.
‘It’s 8 am here, I just woke up.’
‘Did you not see my messages while you were live on the show last night?’
‘Sorry I was really tired and went to bed.’ That was the half-truth.
‘Have watched this episode?’
‘No, not everyone is awake yet. Why?’
‘Did you sleep with him?’ Russell started to get agitated.
‘Did you sleep with that Rory guy?’
‘Why where you awake on the sofa bed together after the party?’ Ryleigh’s face dropped, they must’ve of kept it in for the entertainment but ideally, she would’ve told Kelsie not to show it, the editing team would have to respect that and it slipped from her mind.
‘My drink got spiked that night and I was delusional, I don’t remember anything. Apparently, I was having panic attacks and throwing up, so he stayed with me until I fell asleep.’ She can hear Russell scoffing.
‘Unbelievable you are.’
‘Russell please, I hate us fighting. Why do you keep having a go at me? I really need you to stop being like this and trust me.’
‘No Ryleigh, I can’t I don’t know what to think anymore. I need some time to think, we need some space for a few days. I’m not sure what to do.’
‘I want you. I love you.’ She did mean it the pain and suffering from him made her heartbreak, she didn’t mean to upset him.
‘Goodbye Ryleigh.’ The phone call ended and felt sick, he never had to question their relationship before why would he think like this now, she clenched on her phone tight and prayed this wasn’t the end of this not right now.
She had to face Rory back downstairs and took a deep breath. Rory had time to think when she was away, he nearly kissed her that’s what he wanted it to do. That’s not his thing anymore, Ryleigh is a sweet good girl and he is going to ruin her relationship with her fiancée. The last thing he want’s to do is get under her skin and mess her head up with his feelings.
‘Everything alright?’ He questions her gently, she nods and sits back down.
‘Why wouldn’t it be?’ She plants a small smile, ‘Thanks for breakfast by the way.’
‘Anytime.’ He recognised she’s sad and didn’t want to push her.
With another one gone, Harper gathered her things and left the house and the everyone else viewed the episode and their live shows from yesterday. Everything was there in colour, the spiked drink, waking up next to Rory, falling asleep while leaning on his shoulder although she didn’t remember, this was mostly of Rory and her.
‘Should’ve just called it the Rory and Ryleigh show.’ Blake blurted out, ‘That’s all we got.’
‘Chill out Blake, Ryleigh had a hard time this week. Let it go.’ Elliot says in her defence.
‘Have you figured out yet who might of spiked you?’ Ester asks her, she couldn’t focus reviving from what she watched for the last 2 hours alarmed her. She could lose Russell completely to the point she had a message from her work colleagues telling her what she’s playing at? Asking if this is all acting. ‘Ryleigh?’ Ester calls her again and Rory taps her gently.
‘You alright?’ He asks her.
‘Excuse me for a sec.’ She moved off the sofa and went outside to get some fresh air, she takes in the breeze that hits her skin and closes her eyes, trying not to think too vigorously.
‘Hey, you alright?’ Ester says behind her and turns around.
‘I don’t know.’
‘What’s wrong?’ Ryleigh sits down on the sun lounger analysing it through.
‘What have I done?’ She asks Ester.
‘Nothing, you’re just being you.’ She comes and sits next to her.
‘That’s just it and it’s hurting people I love the most and everything I used to have.’ Ryleigh begins to cry. ‘They twisted it all, I can’t believe they made it like that. They’re all going to think that I’m some horrible monster.’
‘No they won’t. Right now, they’re seeing a shy person opening up who she is and who she’s going to be. This amazing Rockstar.’ Ryleigh looks at her. ‘Even the people who’s known you for a long time, can’t always be around forever. If they don’t make you happy anymore then find someone who will.’ Ester pats her on the back and leaves her. Taking in on what she said it made sense to Ryleigh in an odd way, she saw Rory looking sad for her, she didn’t want to say anything and walks passed him.
‘Ryleigh.’ He speaks and grabs her arm.
‘I need space to think.’ She turns around to look at him, he nods agreeing why and he to let her go. Watching it back put a smile on Rory’s face and how happy he looked with her, she did something to him that no girl has done to him before. He wanted her so bad, that it started to hurt his heart that he thought he never had.