Brooks, a 28-year-old marketing consultant from Salt Lake City, UT, decided to quit the show at the very beginning of his one-on-one date with Desiree. Brooks determined he wasn't madly in love with Desiree, and although his feelings for her were strong, he acknowledged they weren't where they needed to be at this point in the season to consider asking her hand in marriage.
"I don't know if I've ever been in a relationship where I've said goodbye and it's been this difficult. There are those moments that we had together and I miss them already, you know? I miss them a lot. I guess it's a real goodbye. I was hoping that she'd be in love with Drew or Chris. I want that for her. I want her to be happy because she's amazing. I really hope that she finds love -- finds exactly what it is that she's looking for," Brooks said upon his exit.
The Bachelorette's ninth ninth-season episode began with the remaining three bachelors -- Brooks; Chris, a 27-year-old mortgage broker from Seattle, WA; and Drew, a 27-year-old digital marketing analyst from Scottsdale, AZ -- traveling to Antigua for the week's special overnight dates, which marked the first time this season Desiree would be afforded the chance to spend private time with the guys alone.
Before going on her first date of the week with Drew, Des admitted she had great connections with Drew and Chris but her feelings for Brooks were set apart from the other guys because she could definitely see a future with him.
Brooks was someone unlike anyone she had ever known, however, all the guys had expressed their love for Des except him. Des didn't mind that Brooks hadn't said, "I love you," yet because she could sense he was feeling that way regardless. She thought their bond was unspoken.
"I picture Brooks as my husband. I picture him as that fun-loving, goofy father, and it's really crazy to think in a week or so he could be down on one knee. It feels great to be falling in love and find the man of my dreams," Des told the cameras.
Des then met Drew for their date at Betty's Hope. They explored together and Des loved how passionate he was. She said he was honest, loyal, sweet, extremely good-looking, and had a silent strength about him she loved.
The couple shopped around and danced with the locals to music. Drew said he fell more and more in love with Des every time he saw her and got to spend time with her. They enjoyed a picnic afterwards and Drew told her that her meeting his family was one of the happiest days of his life. Des knew he was sincere and she trusted him. Drew felt he had found the one, his soulmate, in Des, and he was anticipating proposing.
That night, the pair kissed in the rain. While, Des had a romantic dinner planned for them on the beach, they had to move indoors because of the weather. But Des said it didn't matter where they were, it was all about the conversation.
Once inside, Des gave Drew the invitation to join her in the fantasy suite, and he said he was "ecstatic" to accept the offer because he never wanted to give up time with her.
Des told Drew she wanted someone who was assertive and could communicate well because he ex-boyfriend failed to express himself. Drew had "crazy, uncontrollable feelings" for Des and admitted to her he'd be ready to pop the question if she chose him in the end because he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
"My mind is made up. I'm going to marry this woman," Drew told the cameras.
Des felt like Drew treated her like a princess and she was "ready to give him the world." The pair started kissing on the bed, and then Drew told the cameras, "Alright guys, time to leave," and kicked them out.
Still in his hometown, Brooks was wondering why he wasn't at the stage yet in which he was ready to tell Des he was in love with her. He sought his mother and sister out for advice, and he admitted to them the idea of proposing to Des made him feel "uncomfortable." Brooks wanted to be further down the road than he was and he wanted to be in love.
His sister told Brooks that at this point in the season, he should know if he loves Des and there shouldn't be a battle going on in his mind. Brooks' mother agreed and warned he shouldn't propose in the face of any doubt. Brooks said he had "painful moments" of second guessing himself regarding his relationship with Des.
Brooks told his family that Des caught him off-guard in a great way, as she was open and ready. And the suitor's family said they thought Des was "darling" and fit in with them perfectly. Brooks was clearly analyzing his relationship, saying the physicality was clearly there but he wasn't ready to propose. The girls told him that he had a tough decision to make although they'd stand by him no matter what.
Meanwhile, Des embarked on her date with Chris, who said he was truly, madly, deeply in love with her. The couple explored the island in a helicopter. Chris said he was a little scared of heights but he'd be okay as long as Des was at his side. Chris had no doubt in his mind Des was reciprocating his feelings of love.
The pair then landed on a private little beach and had a picnic. Des said she had a confidence about where their relationship stood and loved being affectionate with him. She felt they had been dating a long time and thought he was "hot." Des admitted she was a lucky girl to have Chris' love and he'd make a perfect husband, and they kissed in the ocean. Chris noted he'd be there for Des in hard times and good times, and he could definitely see a future with her.
That night, the couple enjoyed dinner and Chris reluctantly brought up how he found a job he really liked in Seattle and could see himself raising a family there with Des. He flat out asked her how she felt about that possibility, and Des said California had been her home and she's at peace there but she'd be willing to sacrifice for love and make things work. Des noted she wouldn't be afraid to get up and go if it meant spending her life with the right person because she could do her job anywhere.
Des made Chris feel "vibrant," and Des loved how supportive he was and how he always made her feel comfortable and at ease. She then offered Chris the fantasy suite card, and he accepted without hesitation. Chris told Des he had "no expectations" and would just like to watch the stars together and relax. Des was on the exact same page. Chris then shared a poem with Des and the pair kissed the night away in a hottub.
"When I look at this relationship and I think about Desiree, it seems perfect. So everything in my head tells me, 'This is it,' but my heart doesn't feel the same way. I can't pinpoint something like, 'This is why I don't feel like crazy in love with this woman.' I wish I could pinpoint this thing of what it is, but I don't have that. It's emotional. It's agonizing," Brooks told the cameras.
Brooks said he got "lost in moments" with Des when he was with her but wasn't sure if he was crazy about and head over heels for her. Brooks noted he didn't want to jump into something "without feeling, like, all the aspects are there."
"Are you not sure or are you telling me, 'I'm not in love with this girl?'" Chris H. asked Brooks.
"I don't know," Brooks replied.
Chris H. suggested he was hearing that Des wasn't the girl for him, and Brooks explained if he didn't feel love now, he worried he wouldn't ever feel love for her.
"I don't feel like I'll regret it. I feel like I've come to a conclusion where I feel -- I don't think that Des is the love of my life. That's what's so difficult," Brooks told Chris H.
Brooks explained he just didn't feel a "crazy love" for Des -- an overwhelming almost painful love that he was looking for. Chris H. asked Brooks if it was maybe a fear of committing that was getting in his way, and Brooks insisted that wasn't the case.
"I do so badly want to be in love. I realize that more now than ever. Having this relationship with Des... reminds me of how great it is to be in love. I don't have a problem with the idea of committing or the idea of being in love or the idea of marriage either. I'm ready for that," Brooks said, adding that he wished Des was the one for him.
Brooks was well aware there would be tears and heartache when dumping Des, and he said that was the last thing he wanted to do. Brooks felt Des didn't deserve to get hurt and he hated the idea of being the one to put her through that. Chris H. told Brooks that, as a man, it was a conversation that needed to take place with Des. Chris H. suggested Brooks needed to be open and honest with The Bachelorette star and show her how conflicted he had been about the situation.
"I so badly want to be in love although I feel like I've really given it everything. [Although] I really do love so many things about Desiree, I'm not in love with her entirely. Despite my best efforts, you can't force something like love. I think this is one of the more difficult days of my life. It's rare that I have to break up with someone I feel so strongly about. It's tough. I don't know if I'm going to find the right words," Brooks told the cameras after talking with Chris H.
Meanwhile, Des was giddy with anticipation about her upcoming date with Brooks. Little did she know he was going to lay a bomb on her.
"I'm so excited to see Brooks. I feel like it's been too long. I am taking Brooks to Bird Island and we're going to take a catamaran to get there. Today is just going to be Brooks and I, hand-in-hand, enjoying the island sun -- stress free. No worries. Brooks has always been a frontrunner from Day 1, having that first date with him on the Hollywood sign. That really set the tone for what our relationship was going to be. He would just do the little things that meant the most to me," Des told the cameras.
"I am in love with Brooks and I miss him every day when I'm not with him. It feels good because I haven't been in love for quite awhile, and I feel like with him, it can just get stronger. If Brooks got down on one knee and proposed to me, I would definitely say yes."
Brooks walked over to Des, who had a big smile on her face and was ready to jump into his arms. A disheartened Brooks hugged her and immediately started tearing up. Des could tell that something was wrong, and she asked him to talk about whatever was going on. Des began crying as well, seemingly afraid of what news was to come.
"The reason I'm having a hard time is coming into this, I was like, 'This is crazy. If I find the love of my life here, like, how awesome is that?' And I really want that. I've wanted that. I was surprised on our first date to feel the way that I did... Here is the struggle. There are all these things that I feel I have checked off -- the way you look at everything, the way I feel when I'm around you, how I feel you're a much better person than me... I love that about you, I really do," Brooks explained.
"I'm so happy to have found that and to feel like you have that. It's rare to find in anybody. And there's moments I wake up and I'm like, 'What the hell am I doing?'... I spend time away from you when I'm not on dates and it takes me awhile when I see you again to be like, 'Oh yeah, that's what we had.'"
"But when you're away from me, do you feel like we lose it? Because I don't. I miss you every day," Des said.
"Yeah, I feel like I do. I feel like I do. I feel like I lose it," Brooks told her.
"How do you really feel?" Des asked.
"I really want to be madly in love with you. So it's even harder. Please don't cry," Brooks said. "I'm sorry."
Des completely broke down with her head in her lap. Brooks repeatedly apologized and tried to comfort her, but she couldn't look him in the eye. Brooks said he waited to tell Des about his feelings because he thought things would change with more time. He said their moments apart don't feel hard enough.
"I don't know what to say. I love you. I do. You're the only one I can say that [to]," Des told Brooks.
"Why didn't you tell me that earlier?!" Brooks said in surprise and disappointment.
"I can't," she replied.
"You can say anything you want," Brooks insisted.
"I told you -- and I was going to tell you today. I told you I was running, and then after that, I knew I was at the finish line. You're breaking my heart," Des said.
"I know I am. I'm sorry," he noted in tears.
Des said what really sucked was that, for once, she was hopeful because she had never felt totally loved by someone before. She said it sucked that she loved him but she loved him regardless.
"I don't care that you just broke my heart. I love you," a devastated Des expressed.
Brooks wanted Des to know he really cared about her, yet Des said there was nothing he could say to make her feel better. Brooks felt terrible for letting her down and every time he tried to explain himself, Des said he was making things worse. Des just continued to cry in his arms, and he was surprised about the love Des felt for him. He realized that he didn't want to leave her nor did he want to see her cry.
"I want to say I love Des. I really question myself," Brooks told the cameras.
The couple then walked for a bit and Des said she really wanted Brooks to meet her family. Brooks was a little taken aback by Desiree's reaction considering he thought she was conflicted over her three remaining guys.
"You know why I was conflicted? Because I didn't want to share my heart. I wanted to give it to you. That's why I was conflicted, and when I was going on dates, I wanted to go on dates with you. That's why I had been conflicted. God!" Des expressed.
"Sorry, I'll shut up," Brooks said with his head down. "It's not helping."
"No, not at all. Okay, I guess you have to go," she said.
Brooks then asked Des if he should go because he didn't want to leave her. She insisted he had said all the things he needed to say. Des told him she just wanted to find someone to spend her life with because she had been alone for so long, and then she quickly said goodbye to Brooks and ran away. Both parties went off in different directions and bawled their eyes out.
Brooks said it was the worst day of his life and there was nothing he could say to make it better. He didn't want to say goodbye.
"It throws everything off, having Brooks gone, and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart knowing I have two amazing, unreal guys who do want to love me and who do love me, but I just can't love them as much as I know I have to give, and that's not what they deserve. Honestly, for me, it's over," Des said after Brooks departed.
(Photo credit ABC)
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