Back at the house, they celebrate with a farewell party for Melody, but she didn’t feel like celebrating and it displayed on her face. She decided to retain her distance but performed to the camera and took pictures like everything was normal while Rory noticed right through Ryleigh’s fake happy.
The next morning, they were filmed saying bye to Melody. She didn’t know her well, but Melody never made it back to her bed last night and neither did Blake. It made her think who would he be sleeping with now she’s gone, also believes the reason she got the least votes too, ideally, Blake should be next to leave in her theory.
The producers told them to sit and watch back the episode shown on TV to the public, everyone got excited while Ryleigh sitting there analysing why it pissed Russell off. This time she had space on the sofa and sat next to Ester in her comfy bottoms and hoodie.
It started to look ok and she appeared to enjoy watching herself and got recognition on how much she changed overnight. It wasn’t until the first party they had in the evening when Blake tried it on with her, but it’s obvious she said no and told him to back off. They even show the next day with her and Rory in the kitchen talking, to the point when he stroked around her shoulder wondering on the tattoo and she stroked his forearm. It must’ve looked she’s flirting by how much they touched each other, but it was all innocent, wasn’t it?
To Ryleigh’s distress after it finished, she texted Russell explaining she understood why and they should talk again, she wanted some space and sat by the pool letting her feet soak the chlorine. It bothered Rory on why she became distant after she took that phone call at the show she hasn’t been the same, in fact, she looked like that when she spoke to her fiancée a couple of days before. He’s opened up to her, quite deeply than he normally would with someone new, Ryleigh did something to him.
‘Hey, mind if I join you?’ He stands next to her glancing down to see her.
‘If you want to, I’m not good company today.’ Ryleigh said honestly, he deserves to know since he’s been amazing to her at the live show.
‘I don’t mind that.’ He sits by her with his feet in the pool too. Rory looks to see what she’s looking at, gawking at the trees swaying a bit in the wind. ‘If there’s something bothering you, it’s best to let it all out….At least while the cameras are off.’ He speaks kindly to her, Ryleigh forgot and considered it’s best to.
‘My family and my fiancée don’t think me being here is a good idea and think I should leave and go home.’
‘That sucks.’ Rory disliked it more than he meant to say, he felt sorry for her with the people who are close to her is hurting her.
‘I know I have a well-paid job, a house and him back home, but something is missing from my life and I didn’t know what it was until now. When I was on that stage, I’ve never felt so alive and free. It felt like I belong there and I could do it forever.’ Her eager and passion in her eyes made Rory’s heart elevating, he sensed her desire and hunger for this. ‘The way that they edit the filming didn’t help, he thinks that I’m acting like a tart the way I’m dressing and acting with you all.’
‘Ryleigh, nobody should ever think of you like that. They should believe you and take you as you are. I don’t see you like that.’ She looks at him and sensed the tension of his voice as he reflecting on how she’s feeling. ‘If they can’t accept you for what you want to be, tell them how it is. They have to understand and they will eventually when you’re going through each week. I don’t think you should change from what you’re doing now.’ Rory has this method of caring, he doesn’t reveal it much but when he does it’s meaningful and shares the pain with them. Ryleigh heart skipped a beat from his kindness, it almost got her crying.
‘Thank you Rory.’ He puts his arm around her squeezes for a hug, welcoming the warmth she hasn’t had for a long time.
After their conversation, she certainly cheered up and had a text from Russell saying they would chat tonight. She will need to tell him straight she’s doing this for a good reason and hopes for him to be supporting and nothing is happening between her and the other competitors. He’s apprehensive, but he knows she’s a loyal person and he did apologize. Russell said she looked good on stage and a good reaction back home. They exchanged they missed each other and told her good luck for the week.
The next day they’re back on set and the cameras rolling for the next challenge.
‘Now you’ve seen what the competition can do, there is no safe place.’ Bruce tells them all.
‘For your next challenge, we want you to write a song to someone who you appreciate.’ Aimee says. ‘It can anything from your mum, best friend or a pet.’
‘When I wrote the song, “letting you go” I recorded this when my dad was in his final days of his death and I apricate everything. He saved his money to buy my first guitar and rode my first tour bus around the country.’ Marcus says, she treasures when their song came out it made her cry from the trauma and the power from his voice. ‘So, think about what you want to say and who to.’
Ryleigh had a new schedule to go by and sat at the balcony exposing her shoulders and pinching the warmth from the sun. Letting her fingers relax against the strings plucking away.
‘How’s the song coming along?’ Rory called out, watching her play in her world admires him.
‘It’s ok, I think I’m overdoing it. ’ She removes the guitar off her lap ‘I might take a break. It might come to me when I’m not thinking.’ Rory sat down by her and picked up her guitar he’s plucks away, his fingers were quite raw from playing a long time.
‘Who are you appreciating to?’ Ryleigh asks and he smirks.
‘Why don’t you listen to it and you’ll find a way for it to mean something. That’s the fun of it.’
‘I can’t wait.’ She jokes. ‘I’m going to sit by the pool for a bit. When you’re done with it, put it back in my room would you?’ Ryleigh makes her way out to get changed into her bikini and cover-up. As she got to the door to the girls’ room was locked, and knocked on it.
‘Hey, is anyone in there?’ She put her ear to the door and nobodies responding, she tries again. ‘Anyone?’ She glanced over to see Rory with the guitar.
‘I was going to join you and return this.’
‘Well, I can’t see to get in so no pool time for me.’
‘I have some spare shorts you can borrow.’ Rory suggested.
‘Right, and what am I going to do from the waist up?’
‘Keep your bra on and wear a t-shirt I have.’ He shrugs, she approved his idea and follows him in.
They went back into the boys’ room and he passes some white shorts and a baggy black t-shirt, she tied it into a tighter knot and they have to share a towel. He turns around so she could change, the anticipation to look back remained difficult. When she changed his stomach flutters from wearing his clothes.
They made their way to the pool and she sat next to Ester, she had a quick look again at Rory and his tattoos as he’s stripping.
‘Is that a new costume?’ She joked to Ryleigh.
‘No, can’t get into our room so Rory gave me this for now. Do you know why our room is locked?’
‘Take a look around and see who’s not here.’ Ryleigh scans around and notices Harper and Blake wasn’t here and Kaylin is at the recording studio.
‘Oh my god. Really?’ Ester nodded and she rolled her eyes, the heat started to make her sweat and needed to cool down in the pool and gradually made her way in. Rory was already there chattering to Elliot and Ashton, clinging onto a doughnut float. She needed to start kicking as she couldn’t reach the floor anymore, Rory passed it to her to hold onto.
‘Thanks, for letting me borrow your swim stuff.’
‘It’s alright, I think we might know why it’s locked then?’ Ryleigh just rolled her eyes and he chuckles. He holds onto the float facing Ryleigh. ‘So who are you writing for?’ Rory teases.
‘I’m not telling you.’ She teases back.
‘I don’t want you to tell me, I want you to sing it.’ He grins at her this is the closest they’ve been to each other, she bits the bottom of her lip.
‘Right now?’ He nods, Ryleigh got all shy and blushes. ‘No, I can’t.’
‘Yes you can, if you can sing in the most random places you’ll get confident on the stage.’
‘Is that so?’ She teases again as she doesn’t believe him.
‘Maybe.’ He smirks back. ‘Go on.’ The look into his coffee-coloured eyes she couldn’t stop gazing at.
I feel you’re here for me,
As hard as it could be,
you don’t need to show if I belong to you,
My heart is here for you,
Even if it doesn’t seem true you’re everything to me.
There’s no dream like this,
Whatever the time I miss,
You’ll know how to make me feel comfortable,
You’ll pick me up when I fall down,
Keep me safe and sound
Thank you for helping me.
Rory smiles from ear to ear, her words of passion made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, her vocals went through his veins. When she sang she stared into his eyes almost feeling like it’s for him, she slightly wished it did. But it’s for Russell, a way of saying sorry.
‘Nice one.’ He tells her, Ryleigh couldn’t help but smile.
‘I think it’s your turn.’
‘Nah.’ Rory taunts her.
‘No, you’ll have to too.’ She says and splashes him, he got the chlorine out of his face and had an idea. He went underwater, she grew frightened not seeing where he is and she felt a grip around her waist and yanked her down into the water and launched across the pool, screaming falling harshly to the water. After she recovers back up she shouts his name and then struggles to hold her head up in the deep end, she hasn’t told them she can’t swim. Rory noticed her struggle and swam to her.
‘Hey, I got you.’ He holds onto her like a bridal carrier and she places one arm around his neck. ‘Sorry I wouldn’t of done that if I knew you couldn’t swim.’
‘It’s fine.’ She peers down at his neck and sees a bird wing and the image goes across this throat with it escaping from a cage. ‘What’s the bird for?’
‘I got that after I was released from prison as a mark for being free.’ He didn’t need to say more she understood, like when a bird is stuck in a cage and desiring to get out.
‘I get it. I feel the same too.’
‘What being in prison?’
‘No. Being trapped and trying to find a way out. Once you do, you become invincible.’ She peers down at his neck at the tattoo and back at him, she felt his sadness falling into this pool of emotions he gets and he does the same with her too.
‘Do you feel like that now?’ He quizzes tenderly and she nods.