It's late September, and Peter Weber is now in his second week on The Bachelor. ABC has invited me along to a group date—a shopping spree and fashion show for Revolve clothing—with guest judges Carson Kressley, Janice Dickenson, and Raissa Gerona. Everything seems normal at first—I mean, it's only the second week—but, as I soon learn, that's not the case.
For one, Hannah Brown has just returned, to great dramatic effect. (Is she really only there to give Peter his wings? Does she want Chris Harrison's job? I need to know if it's for the right reasons, people!) But when I sit down with Peter during a break in between filming, he makes no mention of his ex's return. In fact, it's not until I see the first Bachelor promo months later that I even know she makes an appearance. Whether she's on Peter's mind this afternoon or not, he's not saying. For all I know, the only focus is on the women on his group date—and his own turn on the runway.
Still, Peter confides that it's been a rough road already, even though he's grateful for the opportunity. "I know everyone says this, but it's tough knowing there is going to be disappointment and heartbreak, and I'm going to be the one causing that," he says. "I was on the opposite side of that last time. But all that means is that I just get one step closer to finding her at the end."
He says he hates drama (um, does he know what show he signed up for?), but he's trying to be very understanding of what the women are feeling. "It's not normal to date one person along with 20-some-odd other people," he says, just like every other Bachelor and Bachelorette before him. But it's clear on this date that he's already developing strong feelings for several of the women, including Hannah Ann (who got his first impression rose) and Victoria F.
Of the women, Peter says, "Hannah Ann made a very strong effort to make sure I saw her and that she was there for me. She just has this Southern-belle-type adorableness and charm, and I just was very drawn to her. She brought me this beautiful painting the first night. I'm just very drawn to her, and I'm very excited."
It's not what I'm expecting to hear. I'm prepared for generic sound bites about how great all the women are, but here's Peter genuinely opening up about where he's at in the process. I'm into it.
He's vocal about his concerns too. In a process like The Bachelor, where time is of the essence, it's clear he also has a strong interest in Victoria F. But can she open up at an unusually fast pace? "She's a bit more shy and reserved," he tells me, before adding that he's also "excited to push her with this and get her out of her comfort zone." If she can give it her all, Peter says, that's all that matters. "She could trip and fall on her face, but if she's trying her best, I don't care." That's great and all, but it's very clear that Victoria F. does care. Example A: This clip from tonight's show:
Of course, when I later go upstairs to talk to the women, falling on their face is the last thing they're going to let happen. They're trying on clothes, practicing their walk, and trying to pump themselves up for Peter and the crowd.
"I'm so nervous," Victoria F. tells me, unaware of the conversation I've just had with Peter. "I'm beet red, and my face is so hot. I'm definitely freaking out." At first glance, Victoria doesn't seem like the kind of person to get intimidated by this whole process, but that's the fun of watching The Bachelor. "What scares me the most is I'm just a person who [keeps] to myself," she says, "and I come off a little insecure at times. It's very hard to put yourself out there."
Still, she swears she's enjoying the ride, despite there being more drama than she thought. "I think so many people are trying to show Peter their true selves, and that can come off as aggressive or disingenuous at times. So it's just a lot. My plan is to focus on him and to keep to myself. I'm here for Peter. I'm here to find a husband. That's it."
So far the plan is working. The focus on this date seems to be more on Hannah Ann anyway, who the ladies know is Peter's front-runner. "Hannah Ann will pull him away any chance that she gets to get alone time with him," Natasha tells me backstage. "It's understandable, but also, she's spent the most time with him, so you're always going to be like, 'How is that connection?'"
When I finally meet Hannah Ann, I see why Peter is drawn to her. Unlike most of the other women—who have valid concerns and trepidations about today's date—Hannah Ann appears the most sure of her self. She's confident.
"I've done modeling, but I've not done necessarily catwalks. But I don't think that is important," she tells me. "What's important is putting your best foot forward, being confident, and making the most out of it. It's about bringing personality and having fun."
"Peter is Mr. Prince Charming," she continues. "He has this quality of making each individual feel special and important, and that's amazing. I've never been with someone like that. I'm excited to not only get to know him more but to learn from him."
So what about the rumored drama that she's at the center of? "Yeah, I mean, when you're with a bunch of girls, there's always going to be drama," she says. "But for me, I'm putting it aside. My focus is on building friendships and staying out of the drama as much as I can, and being here for Peter. I mean, who can live in a mansion? Who can go to fashion shows like this? This is crazy!"
Soon after this, the women are instructed to get into their final first looks, so I grab one more moment with Peter. Is his future wife here on this date? Is she back at the mansion? Is she Hannah Brown? (Kidding. I clearly have no idea about that last one.) What Peter does tell me is that while it's still early in the game, and he's not for sure whom he'll choose, he's "very confident" in saying that he could have met his wife the first night.
For his sake, I hope he's right. Because as we know now, the drama is only going to escalate.
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. Follow her on Instagram here.
Originally Appeared on Glamour