We've made it to the Fantasy Suites, people, and things are getting serious. Arie threw out "the L word" on this week's dramatic episode of The Bachelor and it didn't even have the words "falling in" before it. It was just a straightforward old "I love you." Yup. After a date in Peru that involved staring at shrubbery, Arie told Lauren B. he loved her in an intense convo. The leading man explained,
I see that this is something that is hard for you at times. I get that. I’ve been in your shoes. I just want you to know that that night in Tuscany was really huge for me. It was the first time I really felt those emotions i hadn’t felt in a long time. It’s kind of crazy how quick and hard I fell for you. And it just makes me happy because you’re here ... And I want you to know I’m confident in all this because I love you.
Whoa. The thing is, the night he's referring to in Tuscany is the night Lauren told him she was falling in love with him and he... walked away. Later we learned he was just so overcome with emotion he couldn't handle the power of the moment, though it seems as though he's finally gathered his thoughts and gotten himself together enough to actually say those three magical words.
It's obvious to anyone who's been watching this season since the first episode that Lauren has a difficult time opening up, and Arie is well aware that she has her guard up. "I'm constantly battling myself," Lauren admitted to him, as she expressed her concerns about moving forward. "I want you to be confident in your decision, not just the day you propose, but for the rest of your life," she added. Fair enough. Knowing someone you're getting engaged to actually wants to marry you is not too much to ask.
Well, Arie more than quelled her fears for the time being by returning the sentiment she had articulated in Tuscany, because then the I love yous started flying. Cue a slowed-down cover a Leann Rhymes' "How Do I Live" (yes, that happened), because its time for the Fantasy Date card to make its sappy debut. Lauren accepted the overnight invitation and she could no longer hold back her emotions. "I just want you to know, I love you too. Let's go," she said enthusiastically.
Arie's loving responses to Lauren should really come as no surprise. In his People blog following their Italy date in the seventh episode, he even divulged that he hadn't felt this way since his relationship with Bachelorette Emily Maynard. Arie wrote,
I couldn’t logically explain any of my feelings. I didn’t know why I felt so strongly, I just did. And I know excusing myself during dinner looks crazy. It felt crazy at the time, but when Lauren told me she was falling in love with me, I was overwhelmed. In that moment, I knew I felt the same way but needed to take a moment before I could properly express myself. I hadn’t felt like this about someone since Emily [Maynard].
Any Bachelor Nation member who has been following Arie's journey knows that the race car driver falls in love with not one, but two, contestants this season. Now that we've reached the last women standing, it's clear whose he's referring to. Arie may have said "I love you" to Lauren in Peru, but he also told Becca the same. That's big. We'll have to wait until next week's epic two-part finale to see how this all plays out.