WARNING: The following post contains spoilers from Tuesday’s season finale of Bachelor in Paradise on ABC.
Summer’s over, and so is Paradise — but some of these love stories have only just begun.
As Tuesday’s Bachelor in Paradise finale kicked off, four couples were still standing: Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour, Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty, Katie Morton and Chris Bukowski, and Clay Harbor and Nicole Lopez-Alvar. They headed out on their final dates, with the option of sleeping together in the Fantasy Suite at the end of night.
Katie and Chris were up first, and while she was glad they’d made it this far, she still had essentially “no clarity” as to where his head was at — and said as much.
“I didn’t either,” he admitted. “And oddly enough, as bad as this sounds, it takes things like that sometimes to not convince myself but to know that I care, a lot. I don’t think I would have walked away from that beach and sat here with you today if I didn’t feel like I was falling in love with you. I’m excited to show you that I won’t falter.”
Katie was elated with the reassurance she’d been so desperately seeking from him, and the two decided to spend the night together.
Next up were Hannah and Dylan. Dylan knew he was “insanely in love,” but he wanted to know where Hannah’s head was at before taking the next step. She reassured him she wanted to be with him forever, but she admitted there was something giving her pause: She wanted their families to be able to be included in something as big as an engagement. Still, they decided to spend their last night in Mexico together.
Demi and Kristian, who were happy with how much they’d progressed in the last few days, also decided to enter the Fantasy Suite.
“I’m still wrapping my head around what a future could look like with a woman, because I never thought it would be possible,” Kristian said. “You’ve changed my life, really.”
“I feel the same way,” Demi said. “I can’t ever see myself without you. I’m so in love with you.”
Then came Nicole and Clay, who had a very different evening.
“I told you I’m starting to fall in love with you, and that’s true,” he told her. “But I just want you to know, I still have reservations. I just think it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t tell you that.”
“I’m not 100 percent confident, there are still doubts,” he admitted. “I’m not 100 percent ready for a proposal, I’m not 100 percent ready to move in together. I think we have more to explore.”
Nicole was blindsided. “You’ve never brought up any of these doubts before,” she said. “You never, ever have made me feel unsure about our relationship until this very moment.”
But Clay’s mind was made up, and he decided he needed the night alone to think it all through.
The next morning, an emotional Nicole woke up alone, upset but still unwilling to give up on the relationship.
“I thought we were on the same page,” she said. “But my heart just wants to fight for him because I do love him so much and that’s not going to go away overnight.”
She headed back to the bungalows to see him, more anxious than ever because she had no idea what to expect.
“Clay, from the moment I met you I knew you had the chance to change my life forever,” she said, taking his hands. “I’ve truly loved you from the moment we first kissed. I loved you then, I love you now. … I just need you to answer this one question: Yes or no, Clay, do you love me?”
“I’m not there yet,” he replied. “Having those feelings, it’s not easy for me and it’s scary. But I know one thing — that I am starting to fall in love with you. I’m not ready to move in together or get down on one knee right now, but I know what I want and that’s for us to take things slow and to leave here together.”
That wasn’t good enough for Nicole, who left in tears. “I have to do what’s best for me right now,” she said. “And I can’t tell people that we’re together knowing that you don’t love me back.”
“I never pictured us ending this way because I was so happy just a day ago,” she admitted. “All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, it’s all been taken away from me.”
Katie and Chris woke up together feeling “giddy.” The only thing Katie was worried about? She had no idea whether or not Chris would propose — and apparently, he didn’t either.
“This whole thing, I’ve been going with my gut,” he said. “And I feel like I’ll know in that moment if I do want to propose to her or if I want to wait and see where we can go after this.”
Later that day, she headed down to the beach where he was waiting for her and told him she had “loved every minute” of their journey, no matter how “unique and crazy and wild and ridiculous” it had been.
“I feel like it’s been hard. The way we got here is insane,” he acknowledged. “I can’t even explain how I feel right now because I’ve never felt it before. I just feel like I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
With that, he got down on one knee to propose — and she accepted.
“You make me feel calm, you make me feel comfortable, and you make me feel like myself and I feel like I didn’t even know what that was sometimes,” he said. “I can’t imagine a second without you. I see you in my tomorrow, I see you in my forever. And tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so I want to make this the best moment of our life. Katie, will you marry me?”
Then it was Hannah and Dylan’s turn, and no one was more sure of their feelings for each other than these two. But still, Hannah had her reservations about “getting into something so soon.”
“I trust Dylan with all of my heart and I know that I always will,” she said. “But I also know that there’s just been a few obstacles that I’m working out and trying to figure out the best decision overall for me, for Dylan and for our relationship.”
They reunited on the beach, and Dylan spoke first. “Hannah, I came here for someone special and I met you,” he said. “I knew that I was all in on us. I think we both know it wasn’t easy. I’ve never had to fight so hard for something I wanted so badly. But I didn’t give up, and I’m never going to give up on us.”
“This is the end of Paradise, but it’s just the beginning of our story,” he continued. “I didn’t come here to spend my summer with you, I came here to spend my life with you. And I’m ready for that life to start now.”
“I’ve been a little bit burned in the past because my dad has given his blessing and I told him to fully trust me,” she said. “And even though my relationship crumbled, it kind of crumbled a part of me, too.”
“I know how important your family is to you and it’s one of the million reasons why I love you,” Dylan said. “I’m willing to get on the plane with you tonight and go to Alabama and meet them because I cannot wait to meet them, and I also can’t wait to take the next step with you and start our lives together.”
But he wasn’t ready to head home without getting down on one knee — “I can’t leave here without showing you how much I love you,” he said — so he went ahead and proposed, and she accepted.
Last but not least, it was Demi and Kristian’s turn.
“Demi, you’ve changed my life forever,” Kristian said as the two held hands on the beach. “I think back to the first time we kissed and it felt like the whole world had stopped.”
“I’m in love with you,” she continued. “I give you my full heart and I promise to protect yours, now and forever.”
Demi felt the same way, and without further ado, got down on one knee for Bachelor in Paradise‘s first same-sex engagement.
“I came here to find myself but I found myself in you,” she said. “I love you so much, I’m so in love with you, I didn’t even think it was possible to feel this way about someone.”
With that, Chris Harrison formally shut down Paradise for the year. Stay tuned to catch up with the entire cast on the After the Final Rose special, airing now on ABC.