Zak, a 31-year-old drilling fluid engineer from Mico, TX, was ousted traditionally during the eighth episode's Rose Ceremony.
"I'm just completely numb right now. I just did not at all expect this. Tomorrow, I'll probably be heartbroken. Right now, I'm still trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I really had given up on love for a long time and she made me believe that it was possible again and I let myself completely fall. I thought that in the hometown date when I tell her that I love her and she cries -- and then I'm here now going home," Zak said following his ouster in tears.
"I don't get it. And now I'm going back home to kind of a dark place that I tried to find love before and I just can't find it there. Something told me that doing this would get me out of that slump that I've been in for so long. I really thought that this would work out for me, and I don't want to go back to the life I had because it's a lonely life and I spent too many years alone. I just want to spend my life with somebody."
The Bachelorette's eighth ninth-season episode featured Desiree traveling to the hometowns of all her final four suitors -- Zak; Chris Siegfried, a 27-year-old mortgage broker from Seattle, WA; Brooks Forester, a 28-year-old marketing consultant from Salt Lake City, UT; and Drew Kenney, a 27-year-old digital marketing analyst from Scottsdale, AZ -- and meeting their families.
Desiree first traveled to Dallas, TX, to spend the day with Zak.
Zak wasn't only on his home turf but he noted he felt at home with Des in his arms. The couple first met in a park to chat. Des knew a life with him would be surprising, adventurous and different every single day. She then became an employee of Zak's family's snow cone business. She took a ride in the truck with Zak, made herself a snow cone and then passed out the treat to dozens of kids at a nearby elementary school.
Des had a blast with Zak per usual, as he dressed up in a penguin suit and made Des laugh. She found him to be so goofy, fun and spontaneous. Zak jokingly admitted his family was where he got his "lunacy" from. Once Des met the Waddell clan, she realized she loved their positive energy and the joy she felt around them.
Zak's mother Maryann felt something "very special" between the pair and explained they seemed "amazing" together, which was an experience she had never witnessed before between Zak and another woman. When speaking to Des, Maryann toldThe Bachelorette star to look for a spark that would never fade. Des then sat down with Zak's protective yet kind sister Carly.
"Desiree is an awesome person and I've never seen Zak so happy. He walked in with a glow about him that I've never seen. I just don't want him to get hurt, so I'm a little scared, I guess," Carly said.
Zak gushed to his mom about Des, calling her a beautiful person who appreciated creativity and lived each day with passion and a thirst for adventure. He said he fell in love with the person she is and how she inspired him. Afterward, Zak's family performed Des a song to reflect how they felt about her. It was the song Zak performed for her in Atlantic City featuring a change to the lyrics.
"For me to bring Des in, for me to say, 'This woman is the right woman for me,' I mean, there was a point when I kind of gave up on love, and I found that now. Des is the woman I've been waiting for. I know we have a future and I've been waiting for weeks and weeks and weeks to tell Desiree that I love her, and tonight's the night," Zak explained.
When Zak walked Des out, he gave her a ring he bought in Atlantic City to symbolize the moment he fell in love with her. Zak told the cameras he couldn't wait to look back on his journey with Des one day when they were a couple, and Des meeting his family would stand out as one of the best days of their lives.
"Des, I love you. I do," Zak told her.
Desiree traveled to Scottsdale, AZ, to visit Drew next.
When the couple met, Drew prepared Des for picking up his mentally-handicapped sister named Melissa. It meant a lot to Drew to involve Desiree in the moment, as he had never taken anyone to his sister's house before. Drew was concerned about the meeting and worried it wouldn't go well, but things ended up going "flawlessly" and better than he could've hoped. The experience solidified in Drew's mind that he was ready to say "I love you" that day.
Drew's mom Linda never saw her youngest son so happy, but she was scared his heart might get broken. Drew told his mom their relationship was effortless and it felt like she was his soulmate. Drew noted he could absolutely see himself proposing to Des, and she admitted to cameras she could envision it as well. Linda could tell their relationship was real, while Drew's dad Malachi thought Des was "perfect and wonderful."
Malachi ultimately gave Drew his blessing to propose to Des if their relationship was to get to that point.
"He loves that girl and I love that he loves that girl," Malachi said.
"Drew's family is phenomenal. They're just full of love and full of life and just so accepting and warm and friendly and everything I would want in a family. I want to join Drew's family right now; I want to stay," Desiree told the cameras.
Drew then told Des that he loved her and saw a life of happiness with her ahead. He said he wanted her to be a part of his life and hoped he'd eventually return home as an engaged man.
Desiree's next stop was McMinnville, OR, where she was going to meet Chris' family.
Chris took Desiree to the baseball field where he learned how to play ball. He dressed Des up in a little uniform and they played some catch. The couple had a blast playing around, and while Des was stealing bases, she insisted Chris was stealing her heart.
Des then gave Chris a drawing and said it was very important for his family to love her in order for their relationship to progress in the right direction and grow. She truly wanted his clan to love her and it seemed like she felt a little pressure for the first time rather than just excitement.
Des and Chris were a little worried about how things were going to go considering his family didn't like nor did they think he was compatible with his ex-girlfriend. During the gathering, Chris' father George -- who is a chiropractor -- told Des he'd like to "adjust" her body with a series of cracks to make her feel better since she fell on a previous date.
Desiree joked with cameras it "wasn't weird at all" that Chris' father was massaging her back when they just met. Chris ended up getting his dad's blessing to potentially marry Des, and George was supportive of the decisions Chris had made thus far.
Des then had a conversation with Chris' mom Becky that seemed to go fine, and then Chris checked up on things with his mom. Chris said he never felt the way he was feeling before. He believed Des was the one for him and felt their relationship was real and natural although the environment in which they were dating was strange. Chris' mom said the whole family would welcome Des. They all liked her and thought she was a strong woman who could definitely fit in with them.
Becky then got emotional, which Chris saw as a great sign, and she noted they were "magic" together. Chris found it hard to believe Des could share the connection they had with any of the other guys.
"I feel a little sad to say goodbye to Chris. I don't really want to leave yet. It's so great to meet his family and the day went so well. He does have everything that I'm looking for. There's definitely a potential husband in Chris and it's so amazing," Des explained.
Desiree then traveled to Salt Lake City, UT, her last stop, to meet Brooks' family.
"I am so excited to see Brooks. I've been looking forward to this date with Brooks since our first date. I love Brooks and I love being around him, and after the first date, I really did want to be here and meeting his family," Des said.
"I think today and meeting my family is going to have a big impact on the relationship. I don't know entirely how I feel about Desiree. I'm still trying to figure that out. The chemistry can obviously fade if time isn't spent with each other, so that's something I've been thinking about," Brooks explained, adding that Desiree's interaction with his family would be a determining factor on whether they'd continue on the path towards love.
The pair had a little picnic together outside and then went into a canoe and paddled around in a lake. Brooks told Des he wanted to explore the feelings he had for her more but didn't get much of an opportunity to do so. The short-lived moments with Des apparently bothered him, and Des understood how his feelings could be so up and down because she had been in his shoes when dating Sean Lowe.
Des felt Brooks was holding back from falling in love and he needed to stay focused on what they had. She then shared a list of all the special moments they had spent together to remind him of their strong connection. After spending more time with Des, Brooks explained he felt they were on the same page and open in communicating that.
In a similar situation to Chris, Des told the cameras she needed Brooks' family's approval. Once she met the huge family, she picked up on their positive energy right away. Brooks and Des were both looking to validate their feelings for one another through the family gathering. Janice, Brooks' mom, said they looked at each other with love and it was exciting for everyone involved.
Brooks' siblings asked him some very tough questions, such as, "Can you live without her?" Brooks was asked whether he could make Des happy for the rest of their lives and if he found himself never wanting to spend any time apart.
Brooks acknowledged the importance of such topics and told his mom he felt closer to marriage than he had ever been before. He felt in touch with himself and was letting his walls down. Janice thought the pair were very compatible and said they'd all love Des if he loved her.
When Brooks walked Des out, he said he didn't want her to leave and wished she could stay. He could see them being married and it was "awesome."
After the hometown dates concluded, Des visited her brother Nate back in Los Angeles, whom she hadn't seen since he ruined things with Sean for her. Des didn't want him to meet her guys if he was going to be negative and hostile. After summed up each suitor and her relationships with them, Nate said he'd like to meet them and "get in their heads."
Des wasn't sure if she wanting him judging the men before she made decisions on her own. Nate justified his behavior when meeting Sean by saying he just simply knew Sean wasn't the right guy for her. Nate then told Des he didn't have any problems or concerns with The Bachelorette process. Des felt he was open this time around and really wanted to meet the men, so she began considering it. But all the while, Nate feared Des would get her heart broken again.
Later on, Des sat down with Chris Harrison and explained each hometown date "went remarkably well." Des said she'd be lucky to be in any one of their families.
"I would say, yes, I love Brooks," Des admitted.
However, Brooks still hadn't told Des he was in love with her. Despite the obvious lack in verbal communication, Des felt comfortable in her relationship with Brooks and said she didn't need to put pressure on those three little words because she was convinced her feelings were being reciprocated.
"I'm hopeful for a proposal -- and with Brooks," Des told Chris Harrison. "But I would say after Chris' hometown, I was a little unsure. So, it's hard. I don't think any one of them is expecting a goodbye and that's what makes it harder... The person going home tonight is going to be shocked."
The Rose Ceremony then commenced.
Des gave roses to Brooks, Chris and Drew in that exact order.
"I'm just completely shocked. I'm completely shocked," Zak told Des.
While walking Zak out, Des told him that he was so loving and expressive but she weighed all her relationships and wondered if she'd ever get to the point he was at. She feared her feelings wouldn't match his in the long-run and told him he deserved the absolute most out of life. Des then returned the ring Zak had bought her, saying she didn't feel right keeping it although it was a beautiful gift.
A stunned and devastated Zak had little to say, as both parties were crying, and he just wished her happiness on his way out.