The whole day she spends with them took her mind away about everything that happened this morning, even if she didn’t have children herself Ryleigh grasped how to interact and discipline her easily, Layla liked her and trusted her to draw with Ryleigh and take her to the bathroom. At this moment, Rory could picture living this moment eternally with his two favourite girls in the world. While Ryleigh and Layla are walking ahead holding hands he took a picture and eager to put it on social media with a quote “My 2 favourites in the world and I wouldn’t trade it.”
They made their way back to the house and Layla brought her dolls to play with and put the kids’ TV on as background noise.
‘Can we get Maccy D please?’ She begged Rory.
‘We’ll have to go out and get it.’
‘I’ll go.’ Ryleigh said. ‘You stay here.’ He smiles from her gesture.
‘Chicken nuggets please!’ Layla tells her.
Ryleigh collected the order and arrived back in to see them both on the sofa asleep cuddling, not to disturb them places the food down on the kitchen counter and takes a quick photo. She has done it grasping the number of likes he’ll get on social media and as well it’s time people recognise how much of a great father Rory is. From the volume of negativity about him when he wasn’t around for the first two years was awful but he’s here now making it right for her and Layla doesn’t see anything but happiness and care from him. Ryleigh wonders if he didn’t have his daughter, would he still be the reckless person he was years ago?
‘Dad?’ She hears Lyla stirring and turns around.
‘He’s asleep. Shall we go into the dining room and play some games?’ Layla nods and takes her hand.
Rory woke up looking around for his daughter and panicked, he checks his phone to see messages from Ryleigh informing him where they are. His heartbeat went back to normal and went into the dining room, he peeps around the corner and she’s teaching Layla how to plat on Ryleigh’s golden hair, Layla tells her about pre-school and how much she is enjoying it. He glances at them and the more Ryleigh spends time with the things he loves, he craved for her to be in his life. For him to know he has to ask Ryleigh about her relationship she has now before he could move forward, he comes in and they look at him.
‘Look dad, I’m making plats.’ She holds out a strand of Ryleigh’s hair.
‘That’s really good.’
‘Picked it up really quickly. Quite gifted like her dad.’ Ryleigh says, she notices how quick he learns things, that’s how he taught himself the piano. ‘Oh, there is a favourite song she likes to have on repeat.’ She gets her phone and plays one of his tracks he performed from the start, Layla starts singing along and dancing to it performing in her little world. He watches her for a bit and Ryleigh looking at Layla smiling too, it got overwhelming for him and he tried to hold back his tears, she looks at him noticing this.
‘Hey, what’s wrong? Is it something that I’ve done?’
‘No, these are happy tears.’ He wipes them off his face. ‘It makes me happy that she loves what I do and I’ve missed her so much.’
‘Well, she has a cool dad.’ She says comforting him and rubs his arm for comfort, he gets goosebumps when she does this and takes her hand clasps it with his. Ryleigh watches as their hands are connected starting to get an adrenaline rush, with his other hand he tucks her hair behind her ear and moves towards her cheek.
‘I’m hungry.’ Layla calls out, Ryleigh breaks eye contact and release from his hands.
‘Well, it’s a good thing I brought you chicken nuggets then. Come on.’
They always had an opportunity to move it to the next stage but she didn’t want to be unfaithful towards Russell and he didn’t want her to be set out as a bad person. He places Layla on the island and warms up their food, while Ryleigh leans on the island next to her.
‘Daddy. Is Ryleigh your girlfriend?’ They both blush.
‘We’re just good friends and that is what’s important.’ Ryleigh assures her, his heart sunk a bit from her saying this but it’s the right thing to say.
‘Aw, could you be his girlfriend?’
‘It doesn’t work like that Ly.’ Rory explains to her still blushing.
‘I wish you were because I think you’re really nice.’
‘Aw, that’s lovely of you.’ Ryleigh says and gets redder in the cheeks, they look at each other quickly believing it’ll make them stop but it didn’t it made them glow even more.
‘I think it’s lovely to have a boyfriend.’ Layla says to Ryleigh. ‘I’ve got one!’
‘Hey, I think you and me need to have chat don’t we?’ He kids with her and Ryleigh chuckles.
Later in the evening Layla gets picked up by the nanny and stays with them for the night as she can’t be in the house, some of them come back too while others stayed with their other half in the hotel for the night. Everyone was catching up with each other, Ryleigh attempts to call Russell again as it’s the evening in the UK, it went to voice mail.
‘Hey, I’m not sure if you got my message or not, but I really need to talk to you. I know you were supposed to come here as a surprise but I also know why you didn’t turn up, so could you please give me a reason to explain? We need to know where we stand. Bye.’ She presumes he’s snubbing her, it suffers her not perceiving where they go from here. She needs to know before something happens with Rory that might become out of her control.
Her schedule made it easy for her to focus on her song, she decided to write about letting him go, it may be the opposite to what everyone else is writing but if she avoided it, she wouldn’t be writing or performing for the right reason.
I always thought I had everything,
But something was missing I couldn’t put my finger on it,
We had a good thing going and now I blew it,
It’s all my fault that we lose it,
Give me a reason for me to try and find you again,
Are you telling me this is the end?
I blame myself every day,
We shouldn’t fight anymore,
I want something that we could fight for,
Are you telling me this is the end?
I need to walk away,
So tell me where we stand?
Never been so fucked up on who I have to be
I asked myself these questions running through it,
Do I deserve this? Need this?
Is it being better on my own? What’s the purpose?
After her recording session, she makes her way to back to the car and bypasses the other recording studios.
‘Ryleigh!’ A little voice called her, she turns to see Layla.
‘Layla? What are you doing out here on your own? Where’s your dad?’
‘He’s in this room, come with me.’ Layla grabs her hand and opens the studio door to the recording room where Rory is behind the glass singing. He introduced a techno tune into his song, it sounded quite catchy and rememberable, halfway through he stopped annoyed with himself.
‘No those lyrics don’t work either, need to cut them down.’ He shouts out.
‘Ok, I’ll let you re-think and try it again.’ The sound guy told him, he looks out to see Ryleigh with Layla, surprised of her being here he comes out of the booth.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘I just finished and Layla saw me.’ Ryleigh shrugged. ‘It sounds good what you’re writing.’
‘Yeah thanks.’ He scratches the back of my head ‘I’m struggling with some of the lyrics to sound right.’ She takes the paper off him and beats the tune in her head, he decided to go for a tune that his daughter would enjoy listening to rather than the lyrics in general. Rory writes about dating a girl who is obsessed with him too much and Ryleigh had an idea for him.
‘I think you should try this.’
I already said goodbye,
Take this as the last time,
So stop spying on me,
Not a normal girl there,
Something I wasn’t fucking aware,
Someone help me please.
‘What do you think?’ Ryleigh asks.
‘That’s it! Thank you Ry, it was really bugging me.’ Rory felt relieved, she smiles and makes her way out, she always liked to help anyone in trouble if she could.
‘Have fun. Bye Layla.’ It’s generous of her and he liked that, even if it’s a competition she’s willing to go out of her way to help him finish his song.
Ryleigh had a spare half an hour to her schedule and called Russell again, she hasn’t heard from him at all and her affection towards him was starting to disappear altogether.
‘Hey, it’s me again. I really need you to call me, please.’ She hangs up.
‘You still can’t get hold of him?’ Ester came through to the living room with her twin.
‘No, I’m starting to get the message.’ She sat next to her and rubbed her back.
‘I’m sorry Ry.’
‘It’s fine. I’ve stopped crying about it now. I forgot how much writing makes me feel better about these things.’
‘Well, I’m glad you’re looking at a positive side to it. My bro and I were thinking of getting something to eat. You’re welcome to join us?’
‘No it’s fine thanks, I have my exercise routine to do.’ No matter how much she wanted to join them.
The song and video were completed, all their guests where away being treated with the producers while the contestants are in rehearsal for the live show out of everyone Ryleigh gave a different approach and isn’t sure if it’s a good thing or not, but when she went into the one-to-one session with Marcus, he seemed pretty keen with it. When she sang a stinging pain went in her on everything that is happened in the last few weeks, it appeared her mind has turned onto another course of who she is and who she wants to be. Her home that she grew up in didn’t feel like that anymore and LA had something better, even if she didn’t make it as a front singer there are other areas she could work in. Her home had nothing there not even Russell would work in her new life, maybe this is the moment to finally let go. Lasting for 6 years is long-term but she considered she wasn’t happy anymore.
Sitting backstage with their guests able to watch on the screen while they play live, but for Rory’s daughter, they didn’t want to keep her there all evening and make Rory play 3rd on the night and be entertained by a nanny for the rest of the night. The show made a break and Rory is the next, he kisses his daughter and is ready at side stage, the assistant came back in the green room with her.
‘Ryleigh.’ Layla walks up to her and tugs on her skirt, ‘Come watch side stage with me please?’ Ryleigh looks at the assistant helping her out with her answer.
‘I don’t see why not.’ She tells her.
‘Let’s go.’ Layla pulls her off the sofa.
Going to side stage Rory getting his microphone set on and ready to play.
‘Daddy!’ She runs up to him.
‘Hey, little nugget.’ And picks her up and places on his hip, Ryleigh finally catches up.
‘Ry? Why are you here?’ No matter how many times she sees him, he can’t get past how beautiful she is.
‘I asked her to.’ Layla says and Ryleigh shrugs. ‘We’re going to watch you from here.’
‘I couldn’t say no.’ Ryleigh says and bops her nose, someone backstage announced they are ready to roll live again, Rory sets her down.
‘Go rock it.’ Ryleigh said to him.
‘I will.’ He winks at her and runs on stage, she sits on her knees to sit at Layla’s level.
His track started and he was pumped up getting the audience up and jumping, he tried hard not to look back at side stage and see his daughter dancing around and Ryleigh next to her clapping along. This is everything he wanted, a big crowd, his daughter and her. Even from seeing his backside performing she still was hooked onto him and loved it when he’s on stage and probably would’ve been a fan if she watched the show back at home, but being here felt better. Near the end of the track, he picks his daughter and gets her to dance around the stage with him as that would receive some votes.
The judges included Layla and asked her what she thought of the song and she loved it which made the crowd go “awwww”. Rory goes offstage holding her hand and Ryleigh stood up again.
‘That was amazing, well done.’ She complimented.
‘Thanks. I’m glad you were here with her watching.’
‘Me too.’ All three proceed back to the green room and Layla wanted to be in the middle and hold each of their hand and be swung back and forth.
Tessa performed next and went to another break so it’s time for Layla to go as she started to feel sleepy, they said bye to her. Kaylin went on next and then Ryleigh, her knee started to moved aggressively.
‘You’re doing it again.’ He teases.
‘I guess it’s my way of calming me down.’ He touches her knee for it to stop.
‘Ryleigh.’ The assistant calls her out.
‘Go rock it.’ He whispers to her.
‘I will.’ And winks at him recalling what occurred when he went on stage earlier. On her way to the side stage she saw Rory caught up with her and grabbed her hand she didn’t say anything and smiled while still holding on.
As she got on stage and gave it her all, every word she sang and held onto tasting the pain, it’s everything she felt this week and 5 years previously were put into this song. She held on the final note for her big finish, the crowd all roared for her. The feedback had some mixed messages, but they understood why she presented this approach and wasn’t surprised. She goes off stage and Rory is there waiting for her, becoming overwhelmed by her performance and emotions, she wanted to cry.
‘I don’t why I’m acting like this?’ She tells him.
‘It’s fine come here.’ He hugs her while she conceals her face in his chest, he kissed her forehead. ‘You don’t have to say anything, I understand.’ She looks up at him. ‘I’m here for you.’ And he fixes her hair, Ryleigh had to be careful as far as she was aware Russell is still her fiancée and needs to sort the relationship first. She wanted to kiss him so bad but managed the urge not to.