Speaking to 10 play, Bella was still processing what had happened, having only heard Locky tell her his feelings during their last single date together.
Rolling up his sleeve, Locky revealed a short poem written on his forearm. “I’m a big believer in love at first sight and I think I fell in love with you on that night,” it read referencing Bella’s arrival on the red carpet, where she told the Bachelor to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Afterwards he confessed to the 25-year-old that he had fallen in love with her.
“I had no idea what he was doing when he was rolling up his sleeve,” Bella told 10 play. “The thing is, Locky knows how much those three words mean to me, so when he said it I was like wait, is Irena still part of this? Have you sent her home?
“I was so confused, but there was a small part of me that was like, hang on something doesn’t seem right,” she said. “That’s not supposed to happen until the end… that must have had to happen with Irena or she’s not here anymore, that’s not how it usually works.”
Heading into the finale, having heard Locky’s feelings for her, Bella said she felt confident but couldn’t ignore that niggling feeling that something wasn’t right.
“I didn’t want to completely give in because I had been shattered in the past, and I didn’t want to allow myself to feel that again. But my heart was like don’t let yourself scare yourself away until you’re in that last moment,” she said.
Walking up to Locky, Bella watched as he was overcome with emotion, as she stood there wiping away his tears she was still unsure what it meant.
“I was like, is he crying because he’s lost Irena? Is he crying because he’s about to break up with me? I genuinely had no idea what was about to happen. I was just as confused as I’m assuming everyone else watching,” Bella said.
When he finally confessed how badly he felt having to tell Bella the truth, she said it finally registered that he had made his decision and it was not to be with her.
“I just went numb,” she confessed. “I didn’t cry until I walked away, I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry because he had seen it so many bloody times throughout the course of filming,” she added, laughing.
“I wanted to keep that last bit of dignity.”
According to Bella, people have only seen five percent of what she and Locky built during their time on the show, with much of their relationship cementing during lockdown.
“This is completely different to any other Bachelor series that has ever been filmed before,” she explained. “Locky was calling me and texting me every day for those months during lockdown. It felt like a real relationship.”
Having tested their connection in the real world meant Bella felt more secure than ever when they returned to the mansion. The direct one-on-one contact she had with Locky meant it was easy to forget she wasn’t the only Bachelorette still competing for his heart.
“I think that’s why both Irena and I were so invested, neither of us realised that it wasn’t just us getting the reassurance,” Bella said. “He was giving Irena the same reassurance he was giving me. Of course we’re both going to go in there thinking we’ve got a special connection with him.”
Locky wasn’t the only person Bella had a relationship with in the house, initially forming a tight bond with Irena. Though they initially were best friends, Irena and Bella’s relationship soured during lockdown. Returning to the Mansion, the pair could barely stand to be near each other.
“At the end of the day, we were both so emotionally involved and invested with each of our relationships with Locky,” Bella said.
“I came into this thing saying I was going to wear my heart on my sleeve and wearing your heart on your sleeve means showing your emotions and being completely open,” she said. “Love isn’t all rainbows and candy and unicorns. Sometimes there are hard moments too.
“If Irena is the person Locky thinks he’s going to spend the rest of his life with, then I’m happy for him. Everyone deserves to find that one person that they are genuinely in love with.”
For Bella, though she didn’t walk away hand-in-hand with Locky, she did find a connection in the mansion that has helped her as the show has gone to air, moving in with Bec Cvilikas.
“I went into the show to find a soulmate and I found it in a friendship,” Bella said. “She has been the biggest support system for me, I’ve just been staying close to people who feel like sunshine; my family, my friends. They have all been incredible.”
Throughout her journey, Bella spoke about her fears of opening herself up only to be shattered at the very end, but despite that she said she has no regrets.
“I’m the most hopeless romantic you’ll ever meet. I’m a sucker for a fairy tale and, at the end of the day, I’ll never stop putting my heart on the line because what’s love without pain?
“I will continue to put my heart on the line until my Prince Charming comes along and, hopefully, I don’t have to keep kissing too many frogs.”