"I love you baby," Ashley said. "Did you ever think that it would all end like this?"
"When you walked in during the first Rose Ceremony and you were like, 'My husband is definitely in this room,' I was like, 'What the f*** is she talking about!?" J.P. joked and the couple laughed.
"It's you!" Ashley exclaimed.
"It's me," J.P. said in a content sigh of relief.
Ashley selected J.P., a 34-year-old construction manager from New York, NY, over Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, during the finale.
The Bachelorette's seventh-season finale began with Ashley introducing J.P. to her family, who had traveled from Maine to the finale's filming location on Vomo Island, Fiji. J.P. met Ashley's stepfather Mike, her mother Laurie, her sister Chrystie, and her brother Elliot.
Ashley admitted she was ready to get engaged and leave with no regrets. While she explained how everything seemed comfortable and effortless with Ben, she also felt passion with J.P. that she had never felt before. As a result, she was looking forward to seeking answers to her toughest questions from her family.
Ashley knew she was compatible with Ben but had a natural chemistry with J.P. despite their differences. She initially wasn't nervous at all for J.P. to meet her family because she was convinced they were going to love him.
Once J.P. arrived, he told Ashley's family he was so skeptical of the process in the beginning but was more than pleasantly surprised with its outcome. J.P. told Ashley's family that his own family adored her and he was "completely smitten" with her.
However, Chrystie asked Ashley if J.P. made her laugh, and she hesitated to respond then cracked a joke suggesting she made herself laugh more than he could. The answer rubbed Chrystie the wrong way and automatically set the day off on a bad note.
Once Chrystie grabbed some alone time with her sister, she told Ashley she didn't think J.P. was the one for her and was quick to address her concerns about the bachelor.
"I'm not seeing it," she told Ashley.
Ashley's mom then chimed in and mentioned how Ashley seemed more elated with fifteenth-season The Bachelor star Brad Womack, but Chrystie wasn't done talking yet.
"I think you're too much for him. I think you're too young and he's a little bit older and a little bit more demure," Chrystie explained.
Ashley started crying, worrying that J.P. wasn't for her after all. She grew extremely upset that her family didn't like him.
"I'm much more rational [than you]. You base things on how you feel, and I'm looking for logistics. I'm looking at you for cues and I didn't get those cues from you," Ashley's sister added.
Ashley said she was beginning to have second thoughts about everything and wished she could receive some clarity from her family. She explained how she was ultimately fighting between what her heart felt and what her head told her she should do.
Upon receiving her sister's response to J.P., Ashley said her heart was "a little broken" because she felt so alone throughout the whole journey and didn't want the people she loved to disprove of J.P. She really valued their opinion and didn't know how to absorb all their criticism.
"I'm just disappointed... I know we're very different but I want to feel confident in how I feel, and I hoped this would get me there. But now, I'm even more confused. More than anything, I want people's support. I don't know what to do," Ashley told her sister and mother.
Chrystie then sat down alone with J.P. and told him she just didn't see him and Ashley together at first glance, as they were missing that unspoken connection. J.P. was taken aback and wasn't expecting her reaction.
She then told J.P. that she feared he was too old and serious for Ashley, and she said she wondered what he wanted from her baby sister. He told her he knew their relationship would be all about compromise and he wasn't set in his ways although Chrystie felt he was. All J.P. could think in the moment was to tell her he was madly in love with Ashley and she was all he cared about.
"I'm struggling with whether it makes sense all together, because I know when she's being herself and completely happy," Chrystie expressed. "I expected more. I expected to see more of a connection and I didn't see it. I told her I saw more out of her when she brought Brad home."
She went on to admit she wouldn't be happy if J.P. proposed to Ashley. J.P. grew extremely upset and worried she was going to influence Ashley because of the limited time he had left to prove himself. He said he needed to turn things around quickly or else he would miss out on marrying the girl he loved.
"I kind of figured that the older sister would have some harsh questions to ask of me, but that wasn't a question. That was a statement about what she felt in her gut after 15 minutes. Talk about judging somebody. She doesn't even know me, so to just say you don't feel it is bullshit," J.P. said angrily after his conversation with Chrystie.
"To come this far only to have something like this potentially blow it up, I'm mad. This is something amazing that she could have totally ruined, and the worst part is, it's her sister and she could influence how Ashley feels."
Ashley and J.P. then spoke and he told her how he felt things had played out very unfairly. He just felt defeated and didn't want Ashley to change her mind about him. He didn't want her to feel any differently about their apparent strong connection.
"I am influenced by my family and I do need approval by people, but I think I just have to figure it out," Ashley told him.
J.P. left the date fearing things were unresolved and was hurt that he didn't the reassurance he needed from Ashley. However, Ashley couldn't give him what he hoped for because she was very confused.
"I'm in love with Ashley and nothing can change that, but I don't want to be with someone who's unsure about me. If Ashley changes her mind about me, then I'm definitely not proposing," J.P. said.
Later on, before Ben's arrival for their date, Ashley sat down with her sister to talk about everything. Chrystie told Ashley she didn't want to be verbally convinced things would work out between her and J.P., she wanted to see it for herself. Ashley got worked up and told her sister that J.P. felt like a failure and there was nothing he could say to fix it in the moment.
"You're coming across like such a b**ch. You're just so tough and so badass, why can't you feel for me for a second? You're telling me all these things I already know and you're not being my sister and feeling for me and I feel alone," Ashley explained in tears.
"I don't feel like I have a sister right now... I always wanted you to be honest and if that's how you feel I want you to say it. But I feel like you're against me and it makes me want to put a defense up... I feel like you're attacking me."
Chrystie said she just didn't want to tell her little sister what she knew she wanted to hear.
"I'm trying to protect you from yourself," Chrystie said, adding that she felt Ashley depends too much on her emotions when it comes to relationships and it was time to treat her like an adult.
Once everything calmed down and time elapsed, it was time for Ben to meet Ashley's family. She was hopeful things would go better between Ben and her sister.
Ben immediately felt comfortable around Ashley's family and it was obvious they really liked him. He told them he was trusting his gut and just going with it. He and Ashley then joked around and spoke in their funny "dog voices," cracking up her family.
"Everything about Ben is really perfect in my eyes, and I think my family got a really good sense of that," Ashley said.
Ben then got the fourth degree from Ashley's sister. He told her his relationship with Ashley just felt right and Chrystie admired that Ashley acted like herself around him and looked at him as if she truly liked him. Ben then told Ashley's sister that he was without a doubt in love with Ashley, as they were best friends but also so much more.
Ben admitted he was ready to propose to Ashley and explained how their chemistry developed as a natural and easy progression. He claimed it was very unforced and their laughter stemmed from real honest joy.
"I appreciated Ben's openness and honesty, and he was tall, dark and handsome," Chrystie said afterwards. "She was absolutely right that we were going to like him. What I see with Ben and Ashley is sheer passion. That connection is there. Ashley would have everything but a dull life with Ben."
"I see me and Ashley in the end, and the next time I see these people, I will be engaged to Ashley," Ben proudly claimed after he met with her family.
The next day, Ashley and Ben embarked on their one-on-one date together at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. They took a helicopter ride and observed their beautiful surroundings.
"With Ben, I could never see us having a bad moment together. He's just the perfect guy for me," Ashley said.
Upon landing, the couple took a healing mud bath, and Ben expressed how he was very physically attracted to Ashley and felt they had an amazing connection. He said they started off having a very strong friendship but moved it to a very intimate and loving relationship. While Ben knew he was in love with Ashley, he kept the first part of their date light.
Ben said it was a really big deal for him to tell someone he loved them, but he admitted Ashley took his breath away and he really loved her.
"This is the best feeling I've had about a woman -- ever," Ben beamed.
The couple then talked in a private suite and it was a little awkward because Ashley could tell Ben looked preoccupied and had a lot on his mind. Ben told her he got her family's permission to propose and he wasn't nervous about it at all.
"There have been multiple moments where I've wanted to tell you, but I am in love with you and I never expected this ever in a million years," Ben told Ashley.
The couple then kissed.
"I'd be very, very lucky to be kissing him the rest of my life," Ashley said afterwards.
Ben said he could tell the kiss was more passionate than ever and he saw such a gesture as a sign that Ashley was in love with him too. He felt her actions were telling him that she had fallen for him as well.
"I could kiss this girl for the rest of my life," Ben said.
The following day, Ashley and J.P. met up for their one-on-one date on the beach. Her mission was to discover whether she could have a real life with J.P.
J.P. started off the date by telling her that her sister's reaction to him was very harsh and she just didn't give him a fair chance. J.P. didn't want Ashley to become wary about their connection just because of an outside perspective. He told her how he felt Chrystie had wrongly judging him.
"I never thought about us having to explain anything to anybody. With us, it just works," J.P. said, convincing Ashley they were simply a perfect fit.
Ashley questioned the reality of their situation as a couple and J.P. told her he was flexible about everything. He wanted to start a life with Ashley and not just have her fit into his existing life. J.P. assured Ashley he wanted to start a new life with her and was willing to give up a lot because he wanted to -- not because he had to.
"I've been going back and forth, back and forth. We've been talking about that leap of faith, and I guess this is one of the few, but I told your entire family that I'm madly in love with you. I've been dying to tell you," J.P. said.
Ashley was thrilled and the couple kissed.
"I am completely in love with Ashley. I was vulnerable before, but now I'm more vulnerable than ever. I feel completely exposed," J.P. admitted.
Ashley said she knew J.P. was sincere and felt so good where they were at.
Later on, J.P. and Ashley spent time together in a villa's bedroom, and he gave Ashley a card with a photo of them attached. He wrote a note telling Ashley he loved her and couldn't wait to start the next chapter of their lives together. Ashley felt so touched and expressed how she just got lost in J.P. and was utterly infatuated with him.
"Tonight, Ashley made me feel like I was the one," J.P. said. "My worries are that she's going to choose another guy... She can only be in love with one of us, and the hardest part of all of this is not knowing her true feelings. If she tells me she's in love with Ben, then heart break all over again."
Afterward, both bachelors picked out their engagement rings for Ashley and explained how they were so madly in love with her. They both worried they wouldn't be able to bare the pain if Ashley selected the other suitor, but they were also anxious and excited to begin their relationships with Ashley engaged.
The following day, Ashley prepared for The Bachelorette's seventh season's final Rose Ceremony and was thrilled because she knew she had fallen deeply in love and was hopefully going to be proposed to by the man who was right for her.
Ben was the first bachelor to step out of the limo and Ashley was awaiting him on the white sandy beach of Vomo Island with some heartbreaking news.
She began to cry but Ben interrupted her first words and wanted to rush right into the happy ending he so strongly believed they were going to have. He knelt down on one knee and presented Ashley with a ring.
"Before you say anything, I'm totally confident in how I feel in us, but what I love about you and I is that every time we spend together is better than the time before. Every second that I spend with you makes me fall deeper in love with you. I want to thank you for allowing me to feel completely and utterly vulnerable and open with you, and it makes what I'm about to do a whole lot easier. Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on earth? Ben asked.
"I'm sorry," Ashley reluctantly said while trying to pick Ben up off the ground.
"Wow, I didn't see this one coming," Ben muttered in disbelief.
"I know this is unexpected and I want you to know this is the hardest thing I've done here, and I want you to know this was not easy," Ashley told him.
"Guess that's it right?" Ben asked her.
"I care about you so much," Ashley managed to say.
Ben then walked away and was speechless, but Ashley chased him and hoped they could talk things out.
"Look, I've opened up and I've done things I never thought I could do -- tell a girl I am in love with her -- and it took a lot for me to do," Ben expressed.
"I feel so blessed to have met you and to have been a part of your life. You're one of the most interesting, smart, funny guys..." Ashley started.
"I don't need you to sugarcoat it. That's what I need. It's fine," Ben interjected.
"I never thought we were going to say goodbye like this -- on these terms," Ashley said.
"What kind of terms? You can't leave something like this on good terms. It's not possible, so I don't know how you want me to feel. I've trusted my gut this entire time and I've been totally in touch with my feelings, and right now, I'm in utter shock. I'm in disbelief, so good things don't end unless they end badly," Ben explained.
"You truly believe that?" Ashley asked him.
"Yeah. J.P.'s a wonderful guy. I'm sure you'll have a nice life together," he added.
After there was nothing left to be said, Ben was escorted off the premise via boat with nothing but a final goodbye.
"Man, that was a shock. I don't know what the f**k just happened. That's the most vulnerable I've ever been with anybody -- with anybody. F**k man. I got down on one knee and I proposed to this girl. For the first time in my life, I was just completely and utterly vulnerable," Ben said following his ouster.
"I didn't see this one coming, I didn't. I don't even understand. I don't think I ever will. J.P. is a safer bet than me, and I think Ashley went safe today. There were no hints, absolutely no hints. If I ever thought there was any doubt in her mind, I wouldn't have even considered proposing, but clearly there was doubt. I thought I was in love -- maybe I was wrong about that too."
"This was the hardest breakup," Ashley said afterwards in tears. "I hate this. I hate that I just did that, I hate it. I just feel awful, so awful."
Once Ashley painfully let Ben go, she was excited to confess her love to the man whom she claimed changed her life -- J.P..
"I am so in love with J.P. I am just hopeful that he feels the same way. My relationship with J.P. is everything I've ever wanted in a marriage. I can see him as the best husband and the best father, and it makes it so worth it for me. Earlier, J.P. told me to take a leap of faith with him, and now I'm here waiting to see if he will do the same," Ashley said before his arrival on the beach.
Once J.P. approached Ashley, he expressed how deeply he cared for her and ultimately got on bended knee and proposed hoping Ashley would accept his invitation to begin a life together.
"It's a lot different once you're here. It's so hard to believe where this all started and how far we've come. I remember getting out of the limo as if it was yesterday, and I was afraid and I was skeptical and I was worried not knowing what to expect. The hardest part of all of this was not knowing. I'm an open book. All my cards are lied out on the table. I told you exactly how I feel and what I want. I know that I told you my biggest fear is falling in love with you and having my heart broken again, and I'm still afraid," J.P. began as he held Ashley's hands.
"I don't think about all this; I don't think about now. I think about forever and it's hard to know, but I also know that in order for me to overcome that fear, I have to take a leap of faith and that's exactly what this is. This is my leap of faith. For all the time that we've spent together, it's been the happiest time of my life. You always say to me, 'You smile all the time and you're going to have wrinkles when you're older.' Well, I smile because of you. You bring that out. What I do know for absolute certainty is that I am madly in love with you. I love everything about you."
"Today is the reason I went through all the good times and the bad times, and I've been wanting to tell you how much I've loved you for so long now. You mean the world to me, and I don't want to be with anyone else forever," Ashley told J.P.
"I've waited forever to hear that," J.P. responded with tears in his eyes.
"I've waited forever to tell you," Ashley said with a smile.
"I'm so in love with you. You're the one. You're it," J.P. explained as he got on one knee. "Will you marry me?"
"Yes!" she answered. "You're the best man ever."
"I love you," J.P. added.
During the After the Final Rose special which followed the finale, Ashley and J.P. told The Bachelorette host Chris Harrison they have remained happily engaged since the finale was filmed in May and see a wedding in their near future. In addition, Ashley also said she plans to relocate to New York City and move in with J.P..
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