Kaitlyn Bristowe, Nick Viall

ABC

Welp, this puts a new spin on things. 

For any Bachelorette fan who's a bit lost as to how things got so complicated for Kaitlyn Bristowe when it comes to her feelings for the show's two finalists, Shawn Booth and Nick Viall, we have some new intel for you that may explain.

Turns out, Nick and Kaitlyn's relationship before the show was actually much deeper than anyone knew. And despite Kaitlyn looking "shocked" when Nick came on the show, it's actually something the two had joked about before he appeared.

"Kaitlyn and Nick initially started talking as friends," a source who knows the couple tells E! News. "They had both been on the show and they bonded over that mutual experience. But it soon took a romantic turn. They never met in person before the show, but they were talking, texting and Facetiming for hours at a time from late February to early March. It would sometimes go on until the middle of the night."

Kaitlyn Bristowe, Nick Viall

ABC

 "They were explicit about their feelings," we are told. "And while they didn't sext, intimate photos were exchanged. It was steamy." 

In fact, friends of both Kaitlyn and Nick confirm they discussed Nick joining the cast before Kaitlyn left for filming. Says a Kaitlyn source: "She told him she was hoping he'd surprise her on the show. She said it in a joking way, but I think she was serious. She told her friends she was hoping he'd do it." 

Kaitlyn Bristowe, Nick Viall

ABC

Adds a Nick pal: "He was reluctant. He was hoping Britt would be picked as the Bachelorette so that Kaitlyn could come home and they could pick up where they left off. But once Kaitlyn became Bachelorette, Nick put a call into production. He didn't want to give up on her. He was willing to risk it all." 

Oof. After meeting Nick's sweet (crying) mom and sweet (crying) sister last night, and hearing him confess his love for Kaitlyn, we have to say, we're totally buying that his feelings are legit and hoping he doesn't get burned again. You?

Whatever happens, it's gonna be a fascinating finale.

The Bachelorette airs Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

—Reporting by Beth Sobol

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