It may be the Bachelor Winter Games, but on Thursday’s season finale, things got hot.
The two-hour episode opened with just five couples left of the 25 original cast members: Kevin (Canada) and Ashley (USA), Courtney (Australia) and Lily (New Zealand), Luke (USA) and Stassi (Sweden), Jordan (New Zealand) and Bibiana (USA), and last but not least, Dean (USA) and Lesley (USA).
Chris Harrison informed them that for their final challenge, they would be competing in couples’ ice dancing. But after spending the day in rehearsals, it quickly became obvious that things between Bibiana and Jordan had begun to unravel.
Once they were back at the house that night, he approached her and asked to talk about whether she’d put any thought into their future.
“I didn’t think I would come in here and actually find someone, to be honest,” he told her. “And I very much want to be with you after the show. I think with the time we’ve spent together and the way we are together, it’s totally worth pursuing.”
Unfortunately, Bibiana wasn’t on the same page. After a long, tearful back-and-forth, she decided it was time to head home, and they both packed their bags and left that night.
“I wish I could just give him everything. He’s just being so open and he’s ready to just do whatever it takes, and I’m not,” she said. “And that makes me feel really bad. He deserves the world. I just am not that person to give it to him right now. This hurts, but this environment is just not for us anymore. It was extremely selfish of me to try to hold on, but it felt so good. I feel like an idiot, but I’m not going to rush things. And I’m not going to give up on myself or on finding someone.”
The following day, the four remaining couples headed off on their own romantic one-on-one dates — with the option to forgo their individual suites and spend the night together in a Fantasy Suite at the end of the night.
Two couples accepted the offer: Dean and Lesley, and Ashley and Kevin. The moment was particularly huge for Ashley, whose virginity has been a much-discussed topic on the franchise since she first appeared on Chris Soules‘ season of The Bachelor in 2015.
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Before heading into the suite, Ashley and Kevin talked through their decision — but it was clear she had already made up her mind.
“You’re probably the only guy that’s ever made me feel desired and sexy, but yet at the same time is respectful of me and my decisions, sensitive towards everything, manly and protective,” she told him. “I don’t know where you came from.”
“I’m actually kind of jealous that you’re a virgin,” he said. “Because the first time that you do it, it’s going to be right. It’s going to feel right.”
“I love that you brought that up, because everybody is always like, ‘Why would she wait so long?’ ” said Ashley, starting to tear up. “And I just want girls to know that they can find somebody like you. Thank you for not being scared of it, and for being a man. A real, true man.”
The next morning, they woke up in each other’s arms. And while Ashley was clearly over the moon, she carefully avoided spilling any details out of respect for their relationship.
“I’m very content,” she said. “What happened between me and Kevin is something that I want to keep just between me and Kevin. My virginity is something that has already been talked about way too much. I think that after this point, we can just keep it a private issue.”
“Last night’s Fantasy Suite was incredible,” she added. “And I really think that the strengthening of the relationship is going to help us today in this competition. I feel really good. I’m really excited to skate with him.”
Later that day, the four couples hit the ice to perform their routines for a star-studded panel featuring ice skating legends Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner and Nancy Kerrigan.
And if you thought things couldn’t get any better for Ashley, think again: Her performance with Kevin earned them the top spot, and they were crowned the first-ever champions of the Bachelor Winter Games — and the first truly international couple of Bachelor Nation.
“I’m a Bachelor success story,” she gushed. “Winning the title and winning a guy as great as Kevin. I think Kevin and I are probably going to have Fantasy Suite round two, tonight.”
“Three years and gallons of tears later, I finally find what I’m looking for,” she added with a smile. “I’ve always felt like I would one day.”