The ringing noise went on for a long time and stared to realise they aren’t awake.
‘Hello? Ryleigh?’ The line finally picked up.
‘Kelsie, I’m so glad you picked up. I’m sorry to wake you.’
‘Uhh, hang on let me go somewhere quiet.’ She can hear Kelsie shifting around somewhere and waited for her to talk again. ‘Ok, what’s up?’
‘I know I’m supposed to be here for two weeks, but I am thinking of coming back early.’
‘Oh, ok when will you be back?’
‘My family, they don’t get it. They think I can just come back here and forget it all happened. Russell thought that we are still together.’
‘When you told him it was over?’
‘Yes, and I told him about Rory, he now thinks it’s all my fault. I can’t be staying here without knowing my family aren’t supporting me. I hate it.’
‘Okay calm down. I think you leaving early isn’t a good idea, the last thing you want to do is resent your family. Trust me, I’ve been down that road. It’s not pretty.’ Ryleigh’s eyes flooding from the tiredness that has hit her again and the distance her parents has come between them.
‘I didn’t know, I’m sorry I put this on you.’
‘No, it’s ok. You didn’t know.’ Kelsie says and hears her sigh. ‘Listen Ry, spend some time with your family at least. I didn’t speak to mine for a good few years when I broke up with my ex. They hated that I left him and thought of me joining the entertainment industry was wrong too, they expected me to be a housewife. So, I stopped talking to them. It wasn’t until 4 years later when my brother called, my dad died of a heart attack and told me when his funeral was. What I am trying to say is, don’t do something that you might regret and have a burden with someone for years and never know if they would of forgiven you or not.’ Kelsie being open and honest with her is what she need to make her feel better.
‘I’m sorry that happened to you.’
‘It’s ok. You need to go back in there and tell them you’re not changing your mind and get them to visit some point this year. Give them something to look forward to.’
‘Thanks K, I knew I could rely on you to make me feel better.’
‘You’re welcome. Good luck with it all. I’ll speak to you soon.’ They exchanged their goodbyes and Ryleigh got off the swing and made her way back to the house.
She came through and saw them all in the living room talking, as they heard the door, they stopped. Ryleigh walked in and stood in front of them,
‘Look, I know you all think is this crazy. But to me, this is something else, I want this it’s all I wanted. I’m not going to change my mind on what I’ve been saying to you all today, but I want you to at least support me in it. I want you to be there for me and with that I would like you to come and visit me at some point to understand this better.’ She told both her parents, ‘And Russell, the last 6 years have been great, but as well for the last few years it didn’t feel right and you know it. We stopped opening up to each other and we weren’t on the same page on what we wanted. Did I sleep with Rory? Yes, but it was when I told you it was all over. I never did anything before as I kept believing that we still had something to hold on to. And I had to let go.’ She went back to looking at them. ‘I am with Rory, but we want to keep it quiet for a while. When I go back I will be living with him, I really love him.’ She did feel shit saying that in front of Russell, but it had to be said, she couldn’t dodge it anymore. The room went quiet and awkward. ‘I’ll leave you all to think about it.’ She tells them and makes her way upstairs to distract herself by packing her stuff.
A few hours later, she didn’t hear any movement, Ryleigh went back downstairs to see that her parents and Russell are still talking.
‘Ryleigh, come over.’ Her mum says, she enters the room and went back to the spot she stood. ‘We’re still finding a bit hard to get used to, I’m sorry we haven’t been on board. We’ve been in touch with someone to help you and Russell out with the house agreements.’
‘Thank you for being understanding.’ She gives a small smile.
‘I can help you sort your stuff out if you want?’ Russell says to her.
‘Thanks, I would need some boxes, if you got some?’ He nods and gets the ladder to go into the loft for her.
Russell left not long after and their meeting with a solicitor tomorrow to help with the split to the house being fair. Her parents left her to it and decided to travel back to their home and see her in a few days. Russell said he’ll sleep in the spare bedroom for now until she’s gone.
Late evening and figuring it would be midday in LA, she text Kelsie thanking her and believe everything is going to work out fine, her next priority is to call Rory.
‘Hey beautiful, did you caught up with your sleep?’
‘Hey, you. Yes, I did thank you.’ Hearing his voice again put a smile back on her face.
‘What are you up to today?’
‘Just sorting some stuff out. I’m going into my workplace tomorrow and handing my notice in.’
‘Suppose you’ll be getting a farewell party?’
‘Hmm, I don’t feel like having one.’
‘You should. It’ll be worth it.’
‘Maybe.’ She let the line go quiet ‘What you’ve been doing?’
‘Well, I’ve been tidying up the place, did a workout, thinking about you.’
‘Obviously.’ He couldn’t see but she rolled her eyes.
‘I’ve been making some space for you, I can’t wait to hold you again.’
‘I can’t wait to see you either.’ The deep tone in his voice drove her crazy, she sees in the corner of her eye Russell in the hallway listening, he must’ve been back early. ‘I’ve got to go, I’ll speak to you soon.’
‘Ok, love you.’
‘Love you too.’ Ryleigh hangs up, he looks at her uncertain and put his hands in his pockets.
‘I’m thinking of ordering a takeaway, you fancy one?’
‘Fish and chips? I feel like I’m going to miss tha.t’ He nods and places the order.
Having Russell around didn’t become awkward as she thought it would be, the feeling is mutual and no indication of a spark re-occurring. He did admit to her that he did felt pressure proposing to her by both their parents and the reaction she gave looked a bit predictable. It did feel weird them sleeping in separate rooms, but when Rory text’s her, it gives her a reason why she is doing is, the next thing to do is to visit work and quit her job.
Russell let her borrow the car to drive to her workplace and surprise them all, she parks the car in the parking lot. Turning up every day wondering what she could do better, Ryleigh did enjoy the job but it didn’t give her the satisfaction she wanted when she listened to music. Every day in her office chair, the headphones went on and the music got her to be motivated to let the day go by, sometimes she makes conversations with people but usually, the music came first. Ryleigh’s desk was pretty clean and empty and had no reason to decorate it, simply made it easy for her to work and didn’t need the distractions. What made it strange she remembered the day they found out she was engaged and most of the girls got excited for her and she didn’t feel the same enthusiasm as them and wondered why.
Making her way upstairs in the opened office to see all the familiar faces, quite near the front, sitting there concentrating on their work.
‘Hey yall, you miss me?’ She says in an American accent and the room burst in excitement. Paul stood up and started applauding with everyone to join giving her a standing ovation. Everyone piled in and asked many questions about the show and congratulate her winning just like when she won it a couple of days ago. After the excitement started to calm down, Sarah got hold of her.
‘Why don’t we do lunch?’ She asks.
‘But it’s 11:30?’
‘An early lunch is fine with me.’ She smirks missing Sarah’s miss behaviour. Before she followed her, she passed Jack her notice.
‘I knew this was coming, you weren’t going to come back to work when you won would you?’ He joked and Ryleigh laughed.
After having a catch up with Sarah, they said she needed a farewell party with no excuses. Ryleigh updated her about her relationship with Russell but isn’t willing to tell them about Rory yet, she does trust them but they could tell others who are fans of the show and didn’t want it spreading yet. A lot of them speculate that it has to do with Rory but she kept it hidden well her feelings for him.
Her next task is to meet with the solicitor and have an agreement for the house, it went very well and Kelsie said her visa for the USA had been accepted. The next busy day was to start shipping stuff, her parents came round and told her to only take what is necessary and they’ll bring the rest over when they visit so she didn’t have to pay out on postage.
Also, she got the chance to go on the local radio and paper to talk about her winning and her plans now it’s all over. Again she kept her cool and only said what she only wanted to say. A couple of rock magazines that she used to collect in her teens now want to interview her, which she did mention to them and they felt privileged. If this is her busy schedule at home, she was waiting for a busier one when she arrived back to LA.
Being here for a few days started to feel good and her parents came round to it that her life is changing and doing it for the right things, they did judge Rory, but she told them to give him a chance first before making accusations like that. Her mum didn’t approve that he couldn’t come to the UK, she didn’t want to argue with her about it anymore.
Two days before she flies, her workmates met up at the local pub in the city centre and clinked their glasses congratulate her again. Ryleigh had a slight lump in the back of her throat when Jack, her manager, gave a little speech saying what a great asset Ryleigh was to the team and hopes to get free backstage tickets to see her show. Throughout the evening, she kept getting texts from Rory, getting more excited to see her. He sent her a picture of what Layla drew the other day of her, Rory and Lyla at the theme park they went to. Ryleigh didn’t drink much, she has been cautious with her drinking ever since she was spiked, everyone was curious about the incident and glad she recovered. When the night was drawing to the end, she did cry a little bit.
This was once her home, but she is ready to call LA this. Coming from being a nobody to a somebody overnight must’ve been daunting. This competition changed her life, given her the dream job and finding someone who understands her and loves her for who she is, it took her by surprise, to say the least. Ryleigh could become the women she wants to be and the Rockstar she once dreamed of being.