It's Only A Game Show

Part 6

S Eliot


Disclaimers: See Part One

Rachel adjusted her rubber earpiece and checked to make sure the remote mic pack tucked under the back waistband of her skirt was securely in place.
Squinting slightly under the harsh studio lights that were now all focused towards her and the main set, she nodded her readiness towards the facing camera crew.

"Recording in five, four, three..."

The presenter mentally counted the final two seconds - mouthed silently by the crew - and began her introduction.

"I'm Rachel O'Reilly and welcome to 'It's Only A Game Show'," she said smiling as camera one zoomed in for a close-up shot.

"Tonight will see the first contestant evicted from the house, but who will it be? Those inside have already voted for the two they would most like rid of, and now it's up to you, the viewer, to make the final decision.

"Phone lines are open for the next three hours and all calls will be charged at local rates, but first, let's take a look back at how the votes were cast."


The housemates were gathered in the central living area of the compound, most sitting in silence in what had become a very uncomfortable atmosphere. Each and every one had already been called in separately by Rachel to cast their votes and they now sat glaring at one another, trying to figure out who had voted for whom.

Lea, who wandered towards the sofa where Alex and Carolyn were seated, had already received a warning across the speaker system for attempting to talk to Claire about voting strategies. The rules included a simple one strike and you're out policy and she scowled knowing she was already on her final warning.

Deciding to liven things up a little, she leaned over the buxom blonde chewing on a well-polished fingernail in front of her. "Are you nervous?"

Carolyn looked up unsure as Lea moved a little too close for comfort. She swallowed before replying, "Yes."

A slow smile spread across Lea's face. "Am I making you nervous?"

Carolyn glanced towards Alex who couldn't help but listen in to their conversation. "Er, yeah."

"Well, good, that's the idea," grinned Lea. "Maybe today won't be too bad after all."

She was about to continue when Alex interrupted sharply. "Lea, back off."

"Was I talking to you?" the contestant snapped, angry at the interruption.

"No, you were spitting on me, so leave it will you," replied Alex sharply, refusing to back down. "Go and find someone else to torment."

Lea turned stalked off to sit at the other side of the room with Claire, both contestants scowling in the guitarist's direction, as Carolyn smiled at her gratefully.

"You're not helping me make any friends here, you know that don't you?" Alex said quietly with a small smirk. "Sorry," mumbled the blonde. "But I really don't think those are the kind of people you want to be friends with."

A chuckle formed in Alex's throat and it was out before she could stop it, the uncharacteristic sound catching Carolyn by surprise. "You're not wrong there," said the guitarist with a friendly wink. "But look on the bright side, either one of us - or either one of them - could be out of here soon."


Several hours later Rachel made her way back towards the main set, stepping carefully over the various electrical cables that snaked dangerously across the studio floor. With only five minutes to go until the first eviction from the house, she was finding herself more than a little nervous about her first live on-air interview since the show had begun.

The two potential evictees had been announced to both the public and the housemates hours earlier and telephone calls had been flooding into the station from people anxious to oust either the antagonistic Claire or an exuberant Phillipe.

The young presenter clutched a piece of paper with the final result in her hand and made her way quickly across the studio. Her voice would be transmitted directly into the house speaker system once she was ready to announce the public's decision. Security guards would then escort the evicted contestant from the compound, across the lot outside and into the station building for interview and a debriefing with the show psychologist before they would be allowed to leave for home.

Rachel sat down on one of the brightly coloured chairs and smoothed away the imaginary creases in her skirt. She took a deep breath as her earpiece crackled to life, "3 minutes to broadcast."


Back in the house all the contestants were still sitting in the main living area. Both Phillipe and Claire had been told to pack their bags in preparation for the eviction and the cases sat ominously by the main door, even though only one of them would be leaving.

Alex, tiring of the bad atmosphere, got up out of her chair and walked into the kitchen to open a bottle of red wine. Laura soon joined her and began counting out enough glasses for everyone.

"Who do you think it'll be", she whispered softly as Alex uncorked the full-bodied Merlot.

"Sshh," answered the guitarist with a frown. "We're not supposed to talk about the evictions, it's against the rules." She threw the cork in the bin and began to pour the contents of the bottle. "I think everyone knows who I would like it to be though." she said quietly before cautiously carrying several glasses into the next room.

A nervous Phillipe smiled gratefully at Alex as she passed him a full glass of wine and she gave him a friendly wink in return before handing out the remaining drinks she had cradled carefully in her hands.

"Celebrating so soon?" sneered Claire as she approached her seat on the other side of the living area. She took the offered glass and sipped the wine whilst eyeing the dark-haired contestant menacingly. "A bit premature isn't it?"

"Not really," Alex cheerfully informed her with a false smile. "The champagne is still on ice for later."

Claire's face grew darker. "Do you know what your problem is?"

"Let me think... you?" Alex bit back as the control on her temper quickly unravelled.

Laura stood in the doorway with the two remaining wine glasses in her hand watching as Claire stood up to tower over Alex - who easily measured 5ft 9ins - by several inches. Her eyes widened and she silently mouthed to Carolyn to join her.

"What's up," the contestant whispered quietly as she approached, avoiding looking at either Alex or Claire whose eyes were still locked in a stand-off.

Laura handed her a glass and pulled her by the arm back into the kitchen. "Alex is about to blow. I think we should be trying to reach minimum safe distance."

Carolyn looked back guiltily. "Shouldn't we stay and help her?"

Laura's eyebrow's lifted. "Do you really want to get in the middle of those two?"

The housemate nodded before answering, "Good point."

Not for the first time in the competition, Rachel's voice cut through the terse atmosphere.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I thought you might like to know..." she paused. "The results are in and you are live on air." The presenter waited a beat before continuing. "If you would all like to take a seat, I'll announce this week's result."

Carolyn and Laura filled back into the room quietly and sat down next to a worried Phillipe on the sofa. Alex tore her eyes away from a glaring Claire to sit next to them on the sofa arm, while the dark-haired housemate crossed to the opposite side of the room to seat herself next to Lea who smiled at her sympathetically and patted her knee.

Rachel continued. "The past two weeks have seen you all settle into the house well and get to know your fellow contestants... although some seem to be getting on less well than others." She paused. "But now it's time for your ten to become nine. You all voted and both Claire and Phillipe were chosen as the two you would least like to have stay with you. Of course, only one can go this week and now the public has spoken.

She took a deep breath. "The first person to be evicted from the house is..."

A lengthy silence followed and Claire took a quick glance around the room, although no one would meet her eye. Most of the housemates were showing a sudden interest in the floor or their shoes and poor Phillipe was sitting with his eyes firmly shut.

"...Phillipe," finished the presenter.

A relieved Claire exhaled the breath she had been subconsciously holding and a satisfactory smile spread slowly across her face. She winked smugly at Alex whose rose from her chair and stormed off into the girl's bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

The other contestants moved quickly from their chairs to gather round an unhappy Phillipe who was bravely trying to smile despite his obvious disappointment.


"Two of your largest iced margarita's please barman."

"I'm sorry, we don't do large Ma'am. They all come in a standard sized glass."

"Oh," answered a disappointed Georgia, her enthusiasm temporarily deflated. She chewed on her lip for a moment, as her server waited patiently. He didn't know her name, but he knew Georgia's face well. She was a regular in the popular city bar and spent more time in there than some members of staff.

He glanced over her head and spotted her usual companion - that blonde girl from TV - waiting patiently in one of the small booths at the other side of the room.

He'd been secretly attracted to her for months and always wanted to ask her out on a date, but had yet to build up the nerve. He suspected that he was maybe a little out of her league. She probably went more for richer, more plastic-looking media men.

He was still gazing at the presenter several minutes later when her friend eventually came to a decision.
"Best just give me a pitcher," she announced with a smile.

The man nodded and busied himself mixing their cocktail. Looks like his favourite distraction was going to be here all night, he thought with a grin.

"He was staring at you again." Georgia's arrival back at the table Rachel had picked out pulled her out of her reverie about a certain dark-haired guitarist.

"Who was?" asked the presenter, completely oblivious to the attention she'd been getting.
Georgia rolled her eyes. "You know," she pointed. "Him."

The barman, who was once again staring dreamily in Rachel's direction, blushed as he realised two sets of eyes - and one finger - were firmly focused on him.
He quickly glanced away and busied himself by polishing the already sparkling black marble surface of the bar.

"You're imagining things," she stated simply as Georgia's eyes grew wide.

"Oh hunny please," she laughed. "I know you're gay, but you surely can't be blind. Every time we come in here he gets that same look on his face."

"What look?" asked Rachel indignant.

"You know, the one that makes him look like an orphaned puppy in the window of a pet shop. I think he's hoping one day you'll take him home and play with him" she winked.

"And that's so not going to happen," replied Rachel as she lifted the heavy pitcher and began pouring the partially frozen cocktail into the empty glasses Georgia had collected from her admirer.

"Such a shame." Georgia looked back over her shoulder to gaze shamelessly at the man's rear. "I might have to take him home myself," she said with a sigh, "he's too cute not to."

A short time later - with the pitcher almost empty - Rachel filled Georgia in on her post-eviction interview with the ousted Philipe.

"I really felt quite sorry for him," said Rachel with a sigh. "He's such a nice guy - a little animated sure, most gay men are - but lovely all the same. I can't believe he's been kicked out, while that bitch Claire has been left in." She shook her head slowly. "It doesn't make sense to me."

Georgia reached over and squeezed her friend's hand. "Ah, c'mon Rach. At least Claire makes for more interesting viewing - I can hardly wait for the day when her and Alex actually come to blows." She sat back and grinned. "It's soo on the cards you know. Alex's face when you revealed which one had been evicted was priceless. I bet the public has kept her in because they want to see a cat-fight as much as I do!"

Rachel rolled her eyes, but had to concede that her friend - who had become addicted to the show they both worked on - was probably right. The tension between Claire and Alex was building fast and, as her boss would say, that made for 'great TV.' But with Claire's unpopularity outside the house as well as in, Rachel had been sure she would have been the one to go and had been genuinely surprised by the result.

"Well, there's no accounting for taste I guess," she smirked reaching for her almost-empty cocktail glass.

As if on cue, the pair's favourite, daydreaming barman appeared at the table. Rachel offered a friendly smile as he approached which caused the poor man to blush furiously and nervously glance down to his hands.

Georgia chuckled softly and cast her friend an 'I told you so' look.'

"Erm, can I get you ladies anything else?" he stammered.

Rachel opened her mouth to reply, but the make-up artist beat her to it.

"Well now hunny that depends..." Georgia began with a sensual smile as Rachel just closed her mouth and shook her head slowly as her friends well-honed seduction technique kicked in.

The next morning inside the show compound, Alex rose early after a restless sleep. She'd been too hyped-up and tense to relax after her run in with Claire, and when she did finally drift off, she was woken less than three hours earlier by the loud snoring of one of her fellow housemates.

After another hour of tossing and turning, she'd eventually given up any hope of falling back asleep and headed to the kitchen to find something to drink. She snagged a can of Coke from the refrigerator and headed to the living room for a comfy seat.

The contestant was too busy looking at the brief beginnings of the morning sunrise spilling through the glass patio doors to notice Laura seated on the floor.

"Gahhh!" Alex jumped in surprise and barely managed to stop herself from throwing her beverage up in the air. She glared down at Laura. "What the hell are you doing up?"

The blonde housemate simply yawned and rubbed her eyes. "Carolyn's bloody snoring woke me up. What's your excuse?"

"Same," replied the guitarist as she recovered her composure and plopped down on the sofa, taking a large gulp from her can.

"Jesus Alex," said Laura with raised eyebrows. "Why don't you just pour battery acid down your throat?"

"No caffeine," she remarked wryly before pulling her legs up under her. "Although it's not like I need it."

She tilted her head and frowned. "Laura, why are you on the floor?"

"Carolyn's fault again. She's been teaching me some of her Yoga moves. I thought it might relax me enough to help me get back to sleep." She stretched her arms above her head.

"Is it working?"

Laura chuckled. "Would I still be in here if it was?"

Alex took another slow gulp from her soda and watched the increasing sunlight creep across the floor. She opened her mouth to speak, but stopped, her brow furrowed in thought. Laura regarded her curiously.

"Something on your mind?"

Alex looked up. "No." A minute passed.

"Well, I was just wondering..." Her voice trailed off.


She scratched her head. "Well... now that one of us has been evicted, I thought we would get called into the confession room. You know, for our reaction or something."

"We probably will at some point. They'll just be letting us stew for a while first."

Alex nodded. "Yeah."

"I have to say, I'm not complaining. I hate that tiny room, makes me feel all claustrophobic."

"I don't mind so much." The guitarist was unable to suppress the grin that spread onto her face. "At least that girl we get to speak to is friendly."

Laura wiggled her bare toes as the sunrise reached them. "Rachel O'Connor? Yeah, she's nice. I was kinda surprised they picked her to present the show though. There was a lot of bigger names in the frame."

Alex just stared at her fellow contestant in shock absorbing her matter-of-fact statement.

"You KNOW her?" she asked incredulously.

Laura giggled. "Of course. Don't you watch TV? She used to present TravelWorld."

Alex just shrugged and looked at her blankly.

"Okay, well it's not that big a show. But my husband is addicted to cable and always had that programme on." She frowned a little. "I'm not 100 per cent convinced he was purely interested in the vacations it featured though. He's got a thing for blondes." She shook her light-ash curls with a smile.
"She was in the papers a few weeks back too. Didn't you read up on our show before you came in here?"

"I must have missed it," A small unconscious pout formed on Alex's face.

Laura yawned and smiled weakly. "Guess you won't know what she looks like until you get evicted then eh?" She teased whilst standing up and stretching. She yawned again. "I think I'm going to head back to bed for an hour or so. I'm so tired now, I don't even think Carolyn's snoring can keep me awake. You coming too?"

"Nah, I think I'll sit up a while." She turned to look back out the glass doors towards the patio, now coated in the bright light of the early morning sun.

"K, night Alex."

"Night" she mumbled in reply as Laura made her way into the girl's bedroom and closed the door.

She leaned back into the comfort of the sofa, sighing deeply. Rachel. She smiled. Her eyelids felt heavy and she succumbed to the feeling, drifting off into a relaxing sleep peppered with dreams of a woman she'd yet to meet.

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