A bit of tension began to erupt between Brianna Thorbourne and Christina Mandrell on the Jan. 30 episode of The Bachelor. Brianna was chosen to go on the first group date of the season, and she expressed some of her fears to Zach Shallcross during their one-on-one chat on the date. Brianna was one of the five women who got to meet Zach at After the Final Rose BEFORE filming started, and she was given America’s first impression rose after a live vote. That meant that Brianna was automatically safe at the first rose ceremony, and she worried that Zach didn’t actually want her there. “I was going through a really tough time the first night,” Brianna admitted. “I was really unsure about our connection. I was picked by America. Zach didn’t pick me. I haven’t gotten a rose from Zach yet.”
When Brianna shared her feelings with Zach, she got emotional and choked back tears. However, he assured her that she was there because HE wanted her to be. “I really am impressed with everything,” he told her. “You’re here for a reason. I see something in you. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable or weird.” Zach also told Brianna that he “appreciated” her taking the time to be there to get to know him, and they ended their conversation with a kiss.
Brianna was hoping for the group date rose, but unfortunately, she didn’t get it. Meanwhile, Christina got to have a one-on-one date with Zach during the episode. On the date, she even had the chance to meet some of his family members. When Brianna found out about this, she was admittedly rattled and started second guessing herself again. “I’m so shocked,” she admitted. “I have never even gotten a rose from Zach an she’s already met his family. That kind of got me in my head. You do kind of feel a little powerless in this situation. It’s tough.”
Hearing about Christina’s date brought Brianna back to an uncomfortable conversation she had with Christina on night one. “It’s bothering me because on my first night, Christina made a mean comment to me,” Brianna explained. The footage then flashed back to the conversation, where Christina commented on Brianna’s rose from America still being alive and pointed out that Brianna’s dress had roses on it. “This was rigged!” she joked. Brianna insisted she had “no idea,” to which Christina replied, “I know, I know, I know. You look beautiful. And I hate you. Just kidding!”
Although the comment appeared to be made in jest, Brianna said it felt like a “slap in the face” and made her even more insecure about where she stood. “I didn’t realize how much it hurt me until now,” she said. “Her relationship with him seems to be going great, despite her actions. She’s emotionally punched me in the gut.”
Brianna pulled Christina aside and admitted that she made her feel like this might not be a “safe environment” for her. “Thank you so much for sharing that because 100 percent, absolutely, I would never want anyone to feel that way, especially coming from me,” Christina insisted. “That was never my intention at all.” She then asked Brianna to explain what she said that was so upsetting, which Brianna did. Christina added, “I’m ultimately, over anything, so sorry that your feelings were hurt and it was on my behalf. I’m so sorry I don’t remember intentionally saying that. But I understand now that you explained it to me.”
Brianna said she was choosing to believe that Christina was being genuine about there being no malicious intent. However, she told her that she wanted to “see a lot of action” from her going forward. Despite the apology, Brianna said she was still in her head. “It feels like things have been so unfair to me,” she revealed.
During the cocktail party, Brianna got another chance to talk to Zach and brought up the situation with Christina. “The first night, I was super nervous that maybe there might be some negative feelings towards me,” Brianna explained. “I just went in with that little bit of ear. For the most part, it was good, everyone was nice to me and I got to know them. But one person…”
She trailed off there and asked Zach if he even wanted to know who the person was. Zach seemed reluctant. He told Brianna that if she felt like she needed to tell him she could, but also said that if it had been handled already, he didn’t need to know. Brianna chose not to name Christina, but she still told Zach the story. “It’s like, does everyone hate me and she’s the only person who’s willing to admit it?” Brianna wondered, sharing her fear with Zach. “It kind of made me a little nervous.”
Zach said that he was sorry that Brianna had to go through that and admitted that it was “annoying” and “dumb” that it even happened. However, he also expressed some doubts about his relationship with Brianna. “I feel like you have a lot of walls up,” he told her. “Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I feel like our conversations haven’t felt that…fun. I feels like…I don’t know…this is very strict and serious and I’m not a very strict and serious guy.”
After Zach made that comment, Brianna was even more nervous. “My relationship with him does not seem to be off to the best start,” she said. “I wish the whole thing never happened. This has really put a wrench in what I think could’ve been a really smooth relationship. It’s so tough. Part of me feels like he won’t be able to get past the feelings that he has that he can’t be himself around me.”
At the rose ceremony, Zach gave Brianna the very last rose of the night. So, while she still has a chance to continue to get to know him better, her confidence has clearly been rattled. “I’m trying not to spiral right now,” Brianna shared. “I’m blindsided by this, honestly. I genuinely feel like we could have a really great connection and relationship, but I don’t think he’s really given me a chance.”
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