Did racer steal Bachelorette's heart?

BY foxsports • July 23, 2012

This is it.

"The Bachelorette" entered Sunday night down to two men, including racer Arie Luyendyk Jr. Was he the one?

In Sunday night's episode, Arie and Jef had the chance to make their final play to win the heart of Emily, who was engaged to late NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick.

What happened? We've got it covered.

Whom did she choose? We take you through it all, moment by moment.

Emily opens the show explaining that she needs “an exceptional man” and she doesn’t yet know whom she is going to choose. One wonders how close she truly is to making a decision, as things are wrapping up rather soon. 

She greets her daughter, Ricki, in the beginning of the show. Ricki, also the daughter of the late Ricky Hendrick, has yet to meet the two remaining bachelors on the show. Emily’s parents also have come to Curacao to meet the remaining two men.

Emily — who says she is in love with two men — first brings Jef to meet the members of her family in the exotic location.

Jef, dressed casually in a white T-shirt and jeans, sits down with Emily’s parents. Her mother admits that after a failed engagement to Brad Womack, whom Emily met through her appearance on “The Bachelor,” her daughter feels cautious about her current situation. Her family still appears somewhat hesitant about embracing the experience.

And then they meet Jef.

Jef offers earnest, heartfelt and thoughtful answers to her mother’s probing questions — and questions how the family feels about her doing this show.

He asks probing questions to her family about Emily, and her brother reveals that he doesn’t think anyone has matched the love Emily felt for Hendrick. Jef tells him that he “has never been so love” with anyone and that he is completely smitten.

His brother appears impressed by Jef's earnest nature. He says he never believed Emily could find someone to love in this way but then concedes he thinks that, in this relationship, the “ingredients are there to potentially be in love.”

And then comes the father.

He quietly listens as Jef professes his feelings, claims to be an old-fashioned kind of guy (who is dating through a reality show?) and her dad says that if everything Jef says is genuine, he will give the couple his blessing.

Jef seems completely confident he and Emily should be together.

Emily seems stunned by how much her family embraces Jef — and worries that this will taint their impression of Arie.

Meeting Arie

It’s Day 2 as Emily and family meet the bachelors.

Arie wants to make “an amazing impression” because he could, as he says, be meeting his future in-laws.

In a separate interview away from the family meeting, Emily’s dad says he’s not sure why they are going “through the actions” of meeting another guy. Clearly, Dad has embraced Jef entirely.

Arie works hard to make small talk as the family just watches him. No one in the family is commenting much at this time.

Emily’s mother admits it’s been a scary process for them. Arie has brought a box holding the roses he has received over the course of the show to give to the family. Emily, too, seems to be working hard to make sure Arie makes an impression on her family.

It seems Arie is really having to work to break the ice with the family — but the box of roses seems to make an impact. Arie tells Emily’s mother he has dated a single mother before and that he has the crazy love to make things work with Emily. Her mother says she “is blown away” after meeting Arie. She thought she would simply be unimpressed and that she would want Jef for Emily, but that she is taken with Arie, as well.

Arie’s approach is vastly different than that of Jef. He tells her brother that he has been in love before, though his feelings for Emily are unique. Her brother asks Arie if maybe he just wants to win the show, essentially, but Arie — whom the brother first views as a smooth talker — wins him over in talking about his feelings, his past and his love for children.

The father opens in a more questioning nature, too. Though going second must make life a little tougher for Arie, he asks Emily's dad if he can have his blessing to propose. Her dad pauses. It looks as if this might not go well. The pause extends. And then, Emily's dad gives his blessing — though he points out that it is Emily’s decision.

Suddenly, Emily’s family is as confused as she is.

Arie points out that the next time he sees Emily’s family, he’ll be engaged.

Arie walks away seemingly content that he and Emily will soon be planning a wedding.

As Arie walks away, Emily says she’ll need her family to help her with the decision.

Family talks

Emily’s family seems as torn as she is about the two men.

But as Emily pushes her family members to rank one man over the other, they refuse to do so. They point out that she knows the men better than they do.

Her dad tells her that he doesn’t believe you can be in love with two people. He thinks she is truly in love with one or the other.

Emily tells the camera she doesn’t know who will best fit with she and her daughter.

Her mother encourages her to wait on an engagement and see how the men interact with Ricki.

Emily says her mother's suggestion gave her pause. Emily still doesn’t know if one of the guys is the one for her, which finally makes her wonder if either one is.

Final date with Jef

Jef admits there’s still some doubt and obstacles left because he has not met Ricki, who is such a large part of Emily’s life.

Emily admits it’s a big decision to let Ricki meet the guys, but Jef says that he can’t wait to meet her. He’s obviously been thinking a lot about the impact Ricki has on their lives.

Emily says that she’s had a guilty conscience about introducing Ricki to Brad previously but then expresses confidence in her relationship with Jef. Clearly torn between her role as a protective mom and her desire to make a true decision on the show, she listens as Jef essentially makes a case for meeting Ricki.

She tells Jef she really wasn’t planning to introduce Ricki to anyone, but then she changes her mind and decides she does want Jef to meet her daughter. “I have all the faith in the world” that this time it is going to be different.

As she walks away with Jef to meet Ricki, she points out in a separate on-camera interview that Ricki and she are a package deal and that, if the meeting doesn’t go well, it will be the end of any relationship with Jef.

Jef says it is “almost surreal” meeting the little girl. He and Ricki each seem a little nervous about the meeting, but they hit it off. Emily is obviously impressed.

Jef seems awestruck by Ricki and says it feels so natural for all of them to be together. Emily points out that Jef would be the best dad and best husband, while he says in an interview that spending the afternoon talking with Emily and Ricki put a little “real life” into the whole experience.

As they are alone together that evening, Jef seems completely content with everything now that he has met Ricki. He tells the camera that Emily “gets me.” Jef has clearly not taken the experience lightly. He gives Emily a book about Curacao and discloses in a separate interview that he is “possibly” going to propose to her and that he wants her to remember the trip — one with stick figures he has drawn of the two of them at various highlight spots.

“That’s the hardest goodbye I’ve ever said,” he tells the camera after she walks off into the rainy night.

Talking it over

Emily talks with host Chris Harrison about the date with Jef and says that her mind is made up, that having Jef meet Ricki pushed things over the top.

An emotional Emily discusses what it will be like to tell Arie. Emily has a date with him that day and says she cannot sit with him all day without feeling awful.

She knows she must tell Arie the truth. But she “doesn’t even know how to start the conversation.”

A teary Emily tells the camera she did fall in love with Arie and that he has been so open with her that it will hurt to tell him that she is choosing someone else.

Is this it for Arie?

Emily: My heart is broken

Pointing out that nothing has happened to make Arie expect this, Emily struggles with what to say. An unsuspecting Arie shows up, telling the camera that they are completely in love with each other and that “tomorrow, I am getting engaged.” He can see in her eyes that she feels the same.

And then Emily arrives.

She tells him he knows how she felt for him from the very first date and beyond that she thought it was going to be she and Arie. But that she doesn’t know any more. Arie looks shocked.

She tells Arie that she always thought it would be the two of them. Then she tells him she’s sorry. A stunned Arie struggles to take it all in and Emily cries, then he kisses her on the cheek and tells her she doesn’t have to say anything. He walks away but she chases him down and asks him to wait for her.

Emily seems to want to talk longer and more, but Arie clearly wants it to be over. He thanks her for sparing him the embarrassment of proposing to her, kisses her on the cheek, tells her good luck and that it is OK and gets into the waiting car to leave.

As he rides off in the car, Arie says that he feels stupid. He feels like he gives way more than he gets — and that it is unreal that it is over. And that he still feels she is the love of his life.

White flag

Emily cannot wait to tell Jef that he is the only person there to propose to her and that he is the only one who met Ricki.

Jef picks an engagement ring but does not want to propose to her and have her say no as she has not told him she loves him. Will he propose?

Emily is getting ready and isn’t sure she is ready to get engaged. Her past experience on “The Bachelor” has made her gun shy. Will she say yes?

The stage is set. Emily waits. Jef paces with the ring.

Will they end the show engaged?

Checkered flag

Jef and Emily briefly make small talk. He’s nervous. She’s nervous.

But she puts Jef out of his misery quickly, immediately launching into telling him she loves him. She tells him he is the one, her soul mate, the only one who got to meet Ricki, the only one left. That she didn’t even go on the final date with Arie, that he has left and Jef is the only one present.

Jef tells her he is so in love with her and that she will never feel lonely again if she lets him into her and Ricki’s life — and that what he wants to ask her is more than empty words, but rather a forever thing.

He drops to his knee, flashes the ring and proposes.

Emily takes a deep breath. Emily waits . . . and finally says yes.

As the show ends, Ricki runs out and grabs Emily's hand and, as the trio walk away, Emily says, "We did it."

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