If you're still kind of getting used to Ben Robinson's romance with Emily Warburton-Adams this season of Below Deck, we totally don't blame you. It seemed like the two went from crewmates to mates (in the love sense) faster than you can say "painkiller."
Don't feel bad if you didn't see this one coming, either. Kelley Johnson said he was completely caught off-guard by their courtship — and he roomed with Ben on the boat. "Me and Ben are roommates, so I thought he would talk to me about at least being interested because I talked to him about Emily being cute and all this, and he didn't say a word to me. So it kind of caught me out of the blue," Kelley told The Daily Dish. "Was it very upsetting? I wouldn't say terribly."
But Kate Chastain speculated during Tuesday night's episode that Kelley lashed out at Sierra Storm because he was hurt by Emily choosing to go out with Ben over him. "Yeah, [Kate] said I don't take rejection well, and I really wasn't that upset over it. I was more upset that Ben didn't tell me than them actually going on a date because me and Ben, I thought were really close because we talked about a lot of stuff in the room about just the struggles we were having on the boat, what we thought about the crew because we were returning cast members. We had that bond," Kelley explained. "And then that came out of left field, and I was like, 'Well, what happened to all our friendship here? Why aren't you communicating with me? I was more upset over that than them actually going on a date."
Nico said he understood why Kelley was upset about the situation. "It's understandable, completely. Even if you're not living with them, your best friend's all of a sudden on a date with some girl that you liked. Or even if you didn't really like her, you told him, 'Hey, man, I think she's really cute.' And then the next day they're on a date," he told The Daily Dish. "In our situation, we all live together, work together, we go out with each other. So it's just a bit of a shock. But that will set anyone off. Rejection or not, it doesn't matter. That's a whole different scenario."
Of course, Kelley and Nico both expressed their fondness for Emily this season, but they both said there was never serious competition between them. "We were competing in a friendly, non-hostile environment," Nico said.
Kelley added that it was "just two guys having fun." "Emily was pretty, and we both thought she was cute. It wasn't hostile. It wasn't like we were gonna end up losing our friendship," he said. "If you notice, I would say we're very close after the show. And I think if it had been very real and hostile, a real competition, we wouldn't be this way."
Although, Kelley did acknowledge that telling Emily that there was a special someone waiting for Nico back home as they both tried to woo her earlier this season was "a big bro code violation." "I'm not perfect, and I apologized to him for it," Kelley shared.
Ben may have committed "a big bro code violation" of his own by not telling Kelley about his feelings for Emily sooner, but the bosun isn't holding any grudges today. "It is what it is. They made their choices, how they wanted to deal with everything. Ben and Emily, they're great people. Nobody's perfect, and sometimes, you're not going to make the right judgment call," he said. "Do I agree with how they handled it? Maybe not, but am I gonna hold it against them? No. We're a crew. We have to work together, and I'm really just happy being friends with Emily and still rooming with Ben. It really didn't change anything."
Nico is certainly not dwelling on the past, either. "It's one night, and get over it," he said. "Move on."
Now that love has bloomed for Ben and Emily, will it last? See what's in store for the rest of this season of Below Deck to find out.
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