Appalled from Marcus, Rory couldn’t help but looked pissed off and Ryleigh closed her eyes a for a second, sinking in what he just said.
‘You got to be fucking kidding me.’ Rory muttered but enough for everyone to be here.
‘Rory...’ Ryleigh said quietly looking over at him and she shook her head expression him not to react.
‘So, let’s go back to what we are doing and see you at rehearsal.’ Marcus finishes, with that the camera’s stopped and Ryleigh’s lost an hour of her recording time and determined to stay longer, but Kelsie insist her not to and decided not to fight with her. As Ryleigh was speaking to Kelsie, she can see in the corner of her eye how annoyed Rory is while speaking to Josh, his voice slightly raised enough to catch her ear.
‘He should be gone, why can’t they see that?’ Rory asks him.
‘It’s the decision they made, there is nothing we can do.’ Josh replies.
‘You need to concentrate on your song...’ Ryleigh didn’t want to hear anymore and shifted back to Kelsie.
‘I know you want to look after me today, but I’m ordering you and Josh have some time together. He needs it.’
‘I don’t think I can, he has Rory to deal with.’ Kelsie can see how distressed Josh gets when Rory is mad at things like this.
‘I know, but maybe being away from him and not arguing might be better?’ Kelsie can see what Ryleigh is planning for Rory to be on his own to record would be better, as all he would do is moan to Josh all day and get anxious when Ryleigh isn’t in his sight.
‘I understand, I see what I can do.’ Kelsie walks over to Josh to drag him away for a private word and Ryleigh invited Rory to come over to her forgetting about Josh disappearing.
‘What a load of shit.’ Rory states still frustrated.
‘That’s what they said and we’ll have to deal with it.’ He sighs, ‘So, could you do the same please?’ He studies her amazed how she’s taking it. ‘Keep your distance like I’m doing and don’t let it bother you.’ He nods, her positivity made him relaxed.
‘I won’t, but I swear to god Ry if he does - I can’t help but defend you.’
‘I understand.’ She smiles at him. ‘I’ll see you later.’ And kisses him on the cheek again, she had to stop doing that, it’s going to look suspicious.
Throughout the week, everyone kept it civil and no broken bones on Blakes face which was a relief. The news and media caught to this quickly, curious about what happened between the three of them. From it all they all seem to take Rory’s side and disapprove of Blake from his behaviour, it made her think that he’s going to have a tough time saving himself from the live shows and extra security was put on for everyone’s safety. Fans can go wild, she remembers when a singer was replaced in a band and they had a hard time with it as most fans used to boo him on stage and maybe even throw things.
Rory’s song got the most attention this week and was glad to take Ryleigh’s advice with it, just him and the piano. This live show tonight felt different and they can feel it, it wasn’t comfortable as they wanted it to be. Ryleigh knew Blake did wrong but it shouldn’t be affected in his song and performance, he produced a decent song about his dad raised him on his own.
Ryleigh played third and her song gave a dark approach, it made people relatable to it to any situation they are in. The crowd cheered for her more than before, because of what she went through this week and kept it professional on the stage. The feedback from the judges was great and liked the dark aspect in her song and that they felt the deep emotional connection. Dylan went next, then Blake and the crowd changed completely and started to boo hysterically but he was professional and performed, they all watched backstage in the green room feeling sorry for him. The judges gave average feedback but the room went quiet that you can hear a pin dropped. He went off stage and never came back to the green room, she would of felt the same too. Rory played last and his vocals were clear and crisp without a note out of place, you could feel his pain and sorrow in each word that he brought, you could tell it hurt him deeply singing it.
Coming back on stage for the results, Blake was there but didn’t say anything to anyone and he became the next one to leave, the crowd booed excessively and cheered from him leaving. After the evening ended, Blake chose to leave that night with no farewell party - it wasn’t worth it in his eyes.
‘That was a tough night.’ Elliot spoke while they all laid on the sofa.
‘Yeah, it wasn’t an easy one.’ Ester said, Ryleigh slumped back staring into space with Rory next to her, wondering what she’s thinking and she caught him.
‘I felt sorry for him.’ Ryleigh quietly spoke, ‘He shouldn’t had that from the crowd.’
‘It’s not just about what you do on stage, it’s off-stage too.’ Rory said to her, she sighed deeply knowing it’s true resting her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.
Some point in the night she sensed movement and someone advising her to go to bed. Rory let her sleep on him and he fell asleep too, but started to get uncomfortable and the room was empty and dark. He did look at her sleeping softly and wondered if they could get comfortable lying on the sofa together, but thought against it as it might be wrong of him to do so.
As Ryleigh woke up, she felt terrible from waking up in the middle of the night but had had no anticipation on going back to sleep and had to dose up on caffeine for the day. She checked her phone and saw a message from Kelsie,
“Thanks for letting Josh get a break for a bit. You want some lunch today? My treat xxx”
Ryleigh returned and says she’ll meet her after midday. No matter what she saw in the news the TV show was all over about the drama from this week, couldn’t dodge it one bit. She even started to get tweets from other artists taking her side too, telling her she is inspirational and a true warrior. The fame part hasn’t bothered her one bit, she seems to blend into it well not feeling the stress of taking photos and tweeting and expecting the trolls to hit her. Ryleigh has had one or two comments, but Kelsie seems to have it all under control. She’s forever grateful for her being around and thinks about what she could do to say thank you for being her first friend here.
It’s been a long time he’s ever had a girl on his mind this long that it hurts every time she’s not around, a different feeling when he met his ex-wife, Stacie. When he was in a band doing small bars, she was working at the bar while he was performing, even if he was high and drunk he locked eyes on her and couldn’t resist her smile. That evening, he made sure to get Stacie to spend the whole night talking and he said to her, “When I finished my tour, pack your bags you’re coming with me.” So she did and he became a husband and dad. Rory haunts on the pressure that Stacie went through when he was arrested but resented finding out she did cheat on him, it concerned him deeply whether Layla was his at all and paid for a private DNA test. Even if she wasn’t, he would’ve wanted to be in her life, luckily the results came back positive. While he was in prison she filed the divorce papers on him and to give away custody of his child but he refused. Rory’s mother helped out finding a way to keep his daughter in his life, and hated the idea as he never had his dad around and didn’t want Layla to suffer the sadness that dwells on him daily.
Ryleigh got a cab and met at a deli place where she was told it’s Kelsie favourite, she never got the chance to see Rory before she left but Ester would tell him for her behalf. Sitting down at the diner placing their order, Ryleigh dived into the subject now being comfortable with Kelsie.
‘How are you and Josh then?’
‘It’s going alright, we haven’t made a move on each other yet, but we want to go steady and see what will happen. Plus we don’t any other members of the staff being suspicious, since Barry got fired.’
‘Yeah, bit of a shock, I don’t think it’s his fault. Blake was a hard character to deal with.’ Ryleigh nodded, their food arrived and she bit into her meatball steak sandwich.
‘Are you going to do anything about Rory then?’ Kelsie threw the similar subject back to her.
‘Like I said, it’s not a good idea while we’re in this competition.’
‘What are you planning to do after this?’ Ryleigh swallowed the sandwich she’s been munching on. One day she thinks she’ll stay here, then the next she decides just to go back home and go back to her job, Ryleigh been sitting on the fence for a while.
‘I’m not sure to be honest.’
‘Well, if you stay here I’ve had calls from different labels by their managers asking if you would like to be featured in their songs for their album. I’ve had loads of requests.’ Her eyes pop out.
‘Wow really? That’s amazing!’ Kelsie nodded.
‘I think you should stay here, come live with me for a bit until you get your feet on the ground. What do you say?’ Kelsie liked having Ryleigh around and knew she just needed a nudge to get her going, that’s what Josh did to her and now she’s paying it forward.
‘You and Josh will be moving in together by then?’ Ryleigh teased.
‘We’re just trying dating at the minute, there is no need to rush this.’
‘But you want me to do it with Rory?’ She raised her eyebrows at her.
‘No, but it’s written all over both your faces and the fan base are picking it up. They even created a shipping name for it too.’ Ryleigh cringes from her last comment.
‘I don’t think I want to know.’
‘It’s Rorleigh.’ She moaned from it and red bright red.
‘It’s cute, go with it.’
Going back to the house feeling stuffed from eating too much, she sees everyone relaxing by the pool but doesn’t spot Rory. She tried not to ask as it sounds desperate as she has to know where he is.
Catching up with everyone, Rory comes back and has changed his hair colour, the bright bleach stripped out and tones back to his original colour and cut a bit shorter. Elliot let out a wolf whistle.
‘Wow, you’ve finally gone on done it.’ Ryleigh says, the blonde looked great on him but the coffee-coloured hair looked hotter.
‘Yeah, feel much better about it.’ He comes and sits next to her on the sun lounger, she explores his hair cut seeing it’s smooth and how healthy it looks.
‘I have something for you.’ He whispers in her ear. ‘I drew a tattoo for you and I want you to see it.’ She smiles at him with her cheeks lightly blushing, he takes her hand and leads her into the house to his room.
Opening the door, it looked a bit tidier and they have left the balcony door open flowing the fresh air around. He picked up a book full of drawings he’s been doing and flips it over to one for her. She sees the fox tilting its head up with a watercolour background of purples and blues blending into each other but making the character stand out. The drawing itself is beautiful but it’s drawn for Ryleigh, she tried not to give it away she loved it already.
‘Why the fox?’
‘There’s a belief of a spirit animal in everyone and when I think about it for you, I think of a fox. They may be cunning and crafty but also, they can shift easily when it’s unpredictable and remain flexible during it. I’ve never met someone who can just do that, I think it’s incredible.’ She stays quiet looking at the picture. ‘Maybe you were looking for your favourite animal? I should of asked really.’ He thought it wasn’t her taste.
‘Foxes are my favourite actually.’ She looks at him smiling appreciating the detail of it, he smiles back relived. ‘Where would you think I should have it?’
‘On your forearm.’ He said without hesitation, he already had it on the stencil and placed it over the top her skin just below the elbow and views in the long mirror. Ryleigh looks at it and immediately want’s it stamped on her now before she changes her mind. ‘You don’t have to get it now, but I will always keep it if you want it.’
‘Thanks. I love it. I’ll let you know.’ He loves her smile and can’t help but grin back. ‘Show me more.’ She points at the book and they sat down on the edge of his bed flicking through the pages while he talks about each one, very intrigued and listened carefully.