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A small but happy crowd greets Chris Harrison as he introduces himself and the show.
Chris: Millions watched as JP got down on one knee and proposed to Ashley, and, of course, she said yes; but, what has happened to the engaged couple since that magical day in Fiji? How has Ben been since that fateful day? How does he feel about Ashley now?
Chris brings out Ben to face the cheering crowd; he takes a seat and the Bachfather kicks in with some soft needles, “I feel like I’m on a construction site here with all the cat-calls.”
Chris: Millions watched (he does love that number) that heartbreaking scene when you got down on one knee and proposed and she turned you down.
Before Ben gives his post-show thoughts, they replay the scene with all his PIs and voice overs then cut directly to the proposal as Ben in the studio shakes his head. He tells Chris that it is tough to watch, including the anger. Chris, “That is one of the most genuine displays I’ve seen since we’ve been doing the show.”
Ben: The hardest part was having the strength and courage to stand back up
Bachfather digs a little stating, “You were in love with her.”
Ben replies, “I was in love with her. It takes a lot for me to put myself out there and fall in love. It’s not easy, but to put myself out there is an accomplishment and I couldn’t have done it without Ashley. To get down on one knee and propose to someone still kind of blows my mind.”
Chris asks about the days that followed the rejection and Ben chuckles and tells of a long journey with many layovers back to the states only to have to immediately attend his best friend’s wedding with six hours to spare. The worst part was that he couldn’t talk to anyone about what he had just been through
Chris: That is just cruel and unusual…Where are you now?
Ben: I think about Ashley; obviously she’s impacted my life. I’m a more complete person because of her and this whole journey. I’ll never take that away.
Chris asks if Ben has any particular questions for Ashley when she joins them and Ben thinks for a minute and replies, “What did she and JP have that we didn’t; when did she make that decision?”
BEN AND ASHLEY
Chris confirms with Ben that he hasn’t seen her since Fiji and then calls her to the stage. They lightly hug and politely greet before Ashley sits in the chair next to him and Chris begins the interview. When he asks, “What would you like to say?” The first words out of Ben’s mouth are, “nice ring,” said with a nervous chuckle. The audience gasps at his slightly bitter forwardness.
Ben: My biggest question is, when did you make your decision, at what point?
Ashley: There were various times when I thought you were going to be the one, but in the end there comes a point where you just have to follow your heart and that’s it.
Ashley, are you sugarcoating again, because it seems you made your decision much earlier than Fiji even if it took you until then to give everyone a shot. Okay…back to the uncomfortable chairs.
Ashley: It was gut wrenching to say goodbye because that was a goodbye to a friendship. In the moment, the anger was surprising, but watching back, I understand. I will always have a huge amount of respect for Ben and how he handled everything.
Ben: I left with a little bit of dignity; I think that is what it was. I have no regrets (shout out to the season’s theme) and I’m glad I went through it.
They agree that since they started as friends, they will leave as friends. Ben says that he is ready to move on and try it again. Chris, “Only time will tell.” Oh – a competitor for what is considered a Ryan lock on the next Bachelor gig? Only time will tell.
Chris: Before you start gushing about JP, how hard was it to face Ben?
Ashley: I knew he would be a gentleman, and he was. I didn’t expect anger to be one of his emotions (in Fiji) but you never know how someone is really feeling and how they’re going to handle it. (Regarding getting ready to see JP after letting Ben go) I needed to separate the two things because I wanted to look back on it and be happy about it. One way was to say, “I can’t wait for JP to get here.” He was always there for me. I’m his biggest fan. “And you know what? He’s a really good kisser, Chris.”
Chris: I’m so happy to see the big smile on your face. I’m so glad that you’re happy.
ASHLEY AND JP
Chris: Are you ready to see this guy?
Ashley: You don’t know.
Chris: For the first time since the proposal in Fiji – Ashley and her fiancÚ, JP!
JP enters and Ashley doesn’t wait on the stage, she goes to meet him and they kiss, and kiss and kiss. (He is a great kisser, you know.) Chris goes on as though they haven’t seen each other for the past three months, but we know that is false…anyway, what is really going on is that they are relieved they no longer have to sneak around to be together. JP gives the usual response of, “We’ve been dying for this moment.”
JP: Keeping the secret is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. When I am with her, nothing else matters. I am so, so in love with this girl. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. That expression calls for another great kiss. (Ahh, just the right words for the romantics among us.)
Ashley: (in response to Chris’ question about what do you love about him) To be honest, he has always been there for me. We’re just a team; we’re always on each other’s side; there’s just so much about our relationship that makes me believe this is it for me. It’s about us and what we have together and it’s the strongest relationship I’ve ever had.
JP relates that the hardest part of all since the show has been airing is that people can get really, really mean. They only know what they see and not know the whole story and judge someone just based on that, it breaks your heart. “The only thing I could do is be there for her and I’ve done everything in my power to do that.” Ahhh…could this couple get any better? Rhetorical.
Ashley brings on another great kiss when she says that JP makes her complete. Is there such a thing as romantic cheese? If so, these two are serving up Brie.
They watch the proposal for the first time, both smiling and glowing – and that calls for another great kiss.
Chris lightens it up by asking JP to break down the game tape on the proposal and JP says he thinks he nailed it. Ashley agrees.
Uh, oh…the thorne is about to make an appearance on the stage. Has she come around or is she still opinionated against JP?
After hugging Ashley, Chrystie takes a chair next to Chris and he begins the grilling with an interested JP looking on. Chris asks why she was so hard on JP and she replies that she and Ashley are ridiculously close and she wants to save her from all the wrongs of the world and she just didn’t want her to get so caught up in the process that she was just going to pick someone.
To JP she says, “It had less to do with you, but I was just trying to protect Ashley.”
Regarding Ben, she thought that was the lifestyle Ashley wanted to live, but now admits to being the biggest jerk, EVER and she can’t even apologize enough. JP’s frown turns upside down at this news. She tells him that it is clear to her that he is the one. It is clear to everyone. She cheers, “Team Cupcake! Shame on me for being so quick to judge.”
JP tells her it is completely water under the bridge. In looking back he says it was probably the right thing to do, but not the right way to go about it.
Chrystie can’t wait to introduce him to her kids and have happy Thanksgivings, Christmases…and as Ashley says to JP – Hanukah. The new family love fest ends in a hug.
Number one - after Ashley finishes school, they will be getting a place together in New York City, and will live together before talking wedding plans. Chris discloses that there is a parting gift as they don’t want them to leave empty handed. To which JP replies, “I’m not,” as he holds up Ashley’s hand.
Anyway, a trip back to Fiji sponsored by Tourism Fiji and Vomo resort and spa is received with ahhs and another great kiss.
Chris: On behalf of all of us on the show, we wish you great happiness and great things are to come. Continued success, guys.
I concur, Chris, a wonderful ending to a long season of highs, lows and much drama.
Now…before y’all forget…Bachelor Pad2 starts next Monday. Oh, joy.