The next contestant to leave is Tessa and another celebration, Ryleigh decided to call one more time to Russell and stood outside by the pool.
‘Hey, I’m going to tell you straight up and let you know this will be my last call to you. I think I’m getting the message and all I want to say is thank you for everything and I wish you the best in the future I really do. This isn’t what we had planned and I wished you believed me this was for the both of us, from now on I’m doing this for myself. I love you.’ After she hangs up she sees the ring on her finger, twists around and slowly removes it into her back pocket, before she forgets she goes upstairs and puts the ring in a safe place in her hand luggage.
Going back downstairs and circles around the island of the kitchen with everyone else clutching her beer showing both her hands on the table. It didn’t feel like a break up to her and doesn’t know if it still is when someone doesn’t agree to it, but as well as ignoring her is a sign of being binned off too, she seems down about it and will cheer up eventually.
‘Hey you alright?’ Ester says beside her.
‘I think so.’
‘Did you finally get through?’
‘No, but I ended it.’
‘You did?’ Ester appears shocked.
‘I had to, he was just ignoring me.’ Still feeling upset from it, also grasping she’s single and hasn’t been for a long time.
‘Well, I think that deserves a toast.’ Ester winks at her and raises her beer. ‘To Ryleigh and her new chapter in her life.’ She smiled at Ester and lifts her beer too.
‘To a new chapter.’ And clink glasses.
The next day watching back the show it didn’t seem as bad as last time, luckily it wasn’t addressed too much on her and Rory, even though she spent the day with him and his daughter, but it went in the news like wildfire and will be again when she is filmed for not wearing her engagement ring. Most of the articles are asking Russell for a statement and waiting to hear back, however, she’s still worried about him and decided to call her parents.
‘Mum? I’ve been calling Russell for days and I’ve not heard from him? Is he alright?’
‘Well no he isn’t, he has taken a few days away from the city and the media.’
‘I feel awful that he has to go through that.’
‘Well, you only got yourself to blame.’ Her mum said flatly.
‘I didn’t do anything!’
‘Not from where we’re standing.’
‘Look, I really don’t need a lecture from you right now. Since I haven’t heard from him, I thought I’d check if he is ok. But I also called to tell you that I have ended it with him.’
‘Do you think you made a smart move?’
‘Yes, he’s been ignoring me when all I wanted to do was talk. That’s no way to treat your other half. I am taking this one step at a time.’
‘Ryleigh, I’m not happy the way things have gone with you and Russell. However, you seemed to gain some popularity and didn’t realise how good you are at music. I’ve come to terms with it now, you’re pretty good at this.’ It’s the best compliment she’s going to get from her mum and is pleased to have them being supportive.
‘Really? That means a lot to me.’
‘Good luck with it all.’ They chatted for a bit longer and ended the call, the heavyweight has been lifted off her shoulders.
Ready for the next challenge, standing opposite the judges and Ryleigh purposely had her hands in her pockets to hide her hands. She told Kelsie before they start filming and did prep her for the news to blow up about it and she’s ready for it to come her way.
‘So the next challenge is going to be a little different.’ Bruce says to them. ‘We’ve seen what you can do on your own, so what happens if you need to work together.’
‘As couches, we will pair you up with each one and see if can make the perfect duo song but also learn to work well with others. We all like to have other artists featured in their songs and by doing this, it may expose some new opportunities.’ Marcus continues. They seemed surprised from the response and wondered who they’ll be paired with, after that they all go into a room with their couches to be filmed who is paring with who. Ryleigh follows Marcus with Rory, Blake and Ashton.
‘I’m glad I’ve still got my four.’ Marcus says them which made them all smile. ‘You all have great techniques and bringing them together would make the kick-ass song.’ He continues ‘So I’m putting together, Blake and Ashton and Rory with Ryleigh.’ She looks at her co-partner and he smiles back. ‘Rory and Ryleigh step forward.’ And listen to his direction. ‘So the reason I put you two together is because of how opposite you both are, but I can see that this can attract in a way like no other. I am looking forward to see what you guys bring.’ She smiles from ear to ear and so does he.
After filming, she meets up with Kelsie and she can see a spark in her eyes.
‘Oh someone’s excited.’ She mocked Ryleigh.
‘I am buzzing with ideas right now.’ She tells her, before Kelsie could explain more Josh walked up with Rory, her face completely transformed going all shy and red, Ryleigh saw her transformation and amazed how much she’s liked him.
‘Hey Josh.’ Kelsie said.
‘Hey, you’ve given her schedule?’ Josh asks her.
‘Of course.’ And teasingly scoff at him, they made it feel like their the only two in the room and she notices some spark in Josh too, Rory let out a soft cough for them to stop gazing at each other. It appeared to work and Kelsie broke the chain.
‘Good luck to you both. I can’t wait to hear it.’ She says.
‘I can’t wait to work this one. Partner.’ Rory looks at Ryleigh and she can’t help but smile.
Once they found out who was paired with who, it created a delightful and exciting atmosphere for everyone to be in. Ryleigh was keen to get started but Rory wanted to take this with a steady method and not to rush it, he believes that’s when songs aren’t there best.
‘But you least have an idea right?’ Ryleigh quizzes him.
‘I have a few. Let’s get all our ideas down and we’ll share them tomorrow.’
After prepping her lyrics and ideas down, they make their way to the balcony of the boys’ room as it felt better to work in, plus nobody knew they were here. The last time Ryleigh went in there, the boys’ room was alright but now the longer they’ve been there, the messier it’s becoming with a slight stench too. A cleaner does come round but only does the essentials maybe she has stopped doing their room because the state it always get’s to. They both didn’t dress casually and stayed in their lounge clothes as they started to get comfortable with each other.
‘Ok, so what idea’s do you have?’ She asks him.
‘Ladies first.’ He smirks at her.
‘Fine, but don’t laugh ok?’ He nods.
‘I don’t want to write a soppy duo song.’
‘That makes two of us.’ He stated.
‘I also don’t want to write about how amazing about one another is either.’ Rory looks at her confused.
‘Okay, so what do you want to write?’
‘I think we should both show off our talents too, mix it up a bit. You can rap and scream in your songs, I think we should put that in.’
‘Then we can put your belted long notes then?’
‘Exactly. Let’s give them something that they didn’t think they needed to hear.’ Rory liked her approach, if it goes well it can change everything in the way rock music is projected.
‘I still don’t understand what you want to write about?’
‘Well, I’ve been reading the news lately…’ She paused for him to speak.
‘Which I told you not to do.’ He glances at her ready to tell her off and she gives a small laugh.
‘I know, but the media thinks that we have some sort of “chemistry” between us right?’ He nods. ‘So let’s just tell it how it is.’ Rory raises on eyebrow at her.
‘But you just said you didn’t want to write about one another?’
‘Yes, but about what it’ll be like if we were “together”. That’s all they’re talking about. So let’s give them a show.’ He smiles at her knowing this is a great idea, also at the same time he knew they had to be careful.
‘I know you’re not wearing your engagement ring anymore.’ She shrugs and reality sinks in that she is single.
‘I ended it with him. It wasn’t working out anymore. So I’ve closed that chapter and opening another one.’ She made it into a positive outcome, he should be sad for her but deep down he’s relived that Ryleigh is single and now can relax a bit more with her. ‘I’ll be fine.’ She tells him, playing on what the media thinks about them will get them more votes and everyone discussing about them. When one of her favourite band members would be in a new relationship, she never hated the person they were with because it wasn’t her, but she was happy for them. They found someone who can put up with them. Plus people love it too that the would-be “shipping” them regularly, the song needs to do a perfect justice.
As they get on with the writing she plucks some ideas on what she saw today with Josh and Kelsie the way they looked at each other.
‘I’m not sure if you saw it, but my PA likes your PA.’ Ryleigh confesses and he smirks at her.
‘I already knew, because my PA likes your PA.’ He tells her and Ryleigh shook her head. It didn’t seem Rory’s type to let people in instantly but Ryleigh and Josh let him do that, it didn’t look like he had a good friendship with Josh at first but the more he helped him and saw his kind gesture the more he felt like a genuine person to be around.
‘Unbelievable. He won’t ask her out?’ Ryleigh states.
‘He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to, knowing that they work together.’
‘Who the hell cares these days?’
‘Their boss apparently.’ Ryleigh has a light bulb moment in her eyes. ‘No, I’m not playing cupid.’ He tells her as it’s not his place.
‘I’m not asking you to, but if we go to the recording studio they’ll both be there right?’ He nods and decides to not to pay attention and strum on his guitar, she rolled her eyes and places her hand on the neck to stop. ‘We’ll tell them to go have a break for a bit while we record and make it be like a date.’
‘You’re on your own with this one.’ Rory moves her hand off the guitar and see her pouting. ‘Are we going to write this song or not?’
‘Fine.’ She smiles fancying the way he bosses her about.
They finally have a song in place to record at the studio and met Kelsie and Josh there, she changes a little bit when Josh is around and Kelsie doesn’t know how to control her feelings around him. Ryleigh wished she would relax and be herself and convinces her to grab a coffee before they start.
‘Ok, so I know you like Josh very much.’
‘Shhh keep it down.’ Kelsie warns her.
‘Well, I’ve talked to Rory.’
‘Really? What did he have to say?’
‘It looks like he likes you too, he’s told him.’ She can see Kelsie’s heartbeat going fast.
‘What am I going to do?’ Attempting to relax her, Ryleigh puts her hands on her shoulders.
‘I want you and Josh to go and spend the day together while Rory and I are recording.’
‘But we can’t leave you, that’s the rules.’
‘Only if we tell you to.’ She smirks and can see what Ryleigh is planning.
‘You smart one you.’ Kelsie winks at her. ‘Ok. I’ll give it a go. I really like to hear your song though.’ Ryleigh tells her to be back ten minutes before they wrap up.
They make their way back to the studio and quickly Rory asks Josh to go an have a break and come back later, which gave Ryleigh the signal to get Kelsie to do the same, they both made there way out.
‘What did you say to Josh?’
‘Told him to stop being a wuss and get on with it.’
‘Fair enough.’ Ryleigh shrugs and go into the recording booth, he takes the lead on the vocals.
Something has been on my mind,
And I can’t wait to tell this to you,
You matter all to me and it’s a secret,
That I can’t keep to myself.
After his verse Ryleigh goes next
I don’t why, but you give me butterflies,
I wonder if you feel the same way too,
Don’t you leave by my side,
And find a way to hold me,
They both come into for the chorus
So hold me close and don’t let go,
Feel my heartbeat by your side,
Kiss me like it’s our last goodbye,
Pull yourself closer to me,
Hold me tight on don’t leave,
I can’t believe it’s been you that I’m missing,
So stay here with me,
Oh hold onto me,
Everything was going well, in fact, it’s almost finished but Rory wants to tweak one more thing, he doesn’t think the rapping part isn’t needed and thinking of taking it out completely.
‘I feel like I’m taking charge of this song and I think as it’s a joint effort we should sing a verse together. What do you think?’ Ryleigh nods and said that we can tweak it tomorrow. Ten minutes before they wrap up, they see Josh and Kelsie come back in with a smile on their faces.
‘It’s sounding good.’ Josh tells them both.
‘I like the way you’re teasing the media, clever.’ Kelsie states and Rory places his hand closes on Ryleigh’s waist.
‘It’s all Ry’s idea.’ She looks at him and smiles back, she loved staring into his dark brown eyes, they forgot there were in a room with people too and Josh coughed, making Ryleigh be back into reality.
‘So what did you guys do?’ Ryleigh looks at them both.
‘Went for a wander and some lunch at our favourite place.’ Kelsie says.
‘Which is where I took her to when she started her first day of this job.’ Josh says. ‘Thanks both, we needed a break.’
‘Anytime.’ Ryleigh says.