The season eight finale of ABC’s The Bachelorette delivered plenty of drama, but in an unusually down-to-earth, candid way. Southern belle Emily Maynard revealed that she had her heart set on Jef Holm, 27, from early on, and sent his fellow front-runner Arie Luyendyk Jr., 30, home before he could even propose.

Maynard said yes to Holm, a hipster entrepreneur from Utah who stood out during the season for his wit and edge, not on a mountaintop or on the edge of a vast ocean, but rather on a quaint, run-off-the-mill street corner (granted it was on the Caribbean island of Curacao). “I’m so grateful that you came here and put your heart on the line one more time,” Jef, said as he offered her the Neil Lane diamond. “What I’m about to ask you aren’t just empty words. What I’m about to ask you is a forever thing.”

Jef’s adversary, Arie, on the other hand, did not even get to state his case. In an emotional conversation with host Chris Harrison, Emily revealed early in the episode that she had already made her decision and wanted to spare Arie the agony by sending him home early. “It’s just not fair to him,” a teary Emily explained. “As much as I love him, I’ve fallen in love with someone else just a little bit more.”

Emily’s gesture was not so well received. “Thank you for sparing me the embarrassment tomorrow,” Arie responded sarcastically before walking away from their final date. “I appreciate that.” But the bitter contestant later claimed that speaking with Emily and Jef on the phone afterwards helped him to heal. “Just hearing how they were doing helped to give me closure,” Arie said in an interview after taping.

Of her new fiancé, Jef, Emily said she knew he was the one when he met her 7-year-old daughter, Ricki, with deceased NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick. “[Jef] inspires me to do better and he makes me laugh,” Emily added, gripping Jef’s hand. Emily, who had been adamant about not only finding a life partner but one that would complete her family, was immediately joined by her daughter on location after accepting Jef’s proposal. The couple announced that Jef will move to Charlotte, Emily’s hometown, as they begin to plan their wedding. “She’s the most amazing girl in the world,” Jef said. “We’re so perfect for each other.”

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