'The Bachelor' Finale: Clayton Gets a Happy Ending

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Clayton Echard's Bachelor journey came to an end in a way no one could have expected. On Tuesday's episode of the ABC series, the Bachelor said "I love you" to his final woman, Susie Evans, but she did not return the sentiment.

Clayton's relationship with Susie turned rocky during Fantasy Suites week, when he admitted to being in love with and having been intimate with both Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey.

Susie left the show in tears, unable to accept that Clayton held similar feelings for two other women. In part one of the two-part finale, Clayton confessed the same thing to both Rachel and Gabby.

The women ended up agreeing to stay, and even had pleasant meetings with Clayton's family. All the while, though, Clayton couldn't get his mind off Susie, and was eager for "one more shot" with the wedding videographer.

Susie agreed to a meeting, and Clayton ended things with Rachel and Gabby for good. At the final rose ceremony, though, Susie couldn't say those three little words.

"It’s just you and me here because I don’t want anything," he told her. "I’m so fully committed in showing you how much I love you and how I will never step fighting for you... I can be the man you thought I was if you just give me the chance."

While Susie told Clayton that she did "truly believe" what he was saying, and said that there was "no doubt" about their connection, she'd decided that things between them had to end.

"The love that I have for you in my heart it’s so real and I know that you have it too, but I don’t feel like the kind of love I have for you right now is the kind of love you have for me right now," she said. "... I have made the decision to leave Iceland alone... It’s devastating if I’m being honest, but I’ve thought this through, and I don’t think that I’m your person, and I don’t think you’re mine." 

Clayton asked if time could change things, telling Susie, "It’s not over until you tell me it’s over." 

"I feel like it’s over," she said.

With that, he walked her to the car and watched her leave Iceland. But the story didn't end there.

"I was reached out to by someone, and it was the last person that I ever expected to reach out," Clayton told host Jesse Palmer during the live portion of the show. "I was absolutely shocked that there was maybe something that came from all of it."

That person, it turns out, was Susie. She then joined her boyfriend live on stage to detail their journey back to each other.

"I left Iceland. I had to make that decision for myself," she said of initially turning Clayton down. "... I was protecting myself and I didn’t know what I wanted... We took time apart after the show and we reset... and we’re happy to be here today."

Clayton admitted that he "didn't really think" his happy moment would come, but said that he "just held on to hope" that it would. While Susie couldn't say "I love you" back in Iceland, she had no problem declaring it proudly on Tuesday night.

"I love you. I love you. I do," she said. "We took some steps back when we left Iceland, which I think, as I said, was best for both of us. But I always had love Clayton, I always had that love in my heart. I loved him as a person before I ever fell in love with him. I can confidently say, yeah, he’s incredible."

Though the couple is happy in their relationship, Susie admitted that she and Clayton are both "expecting a little backlash" to their love.

"We didn’t have clear definitions of love, I think, in Iceland. We both could have done better in different ways," she said. "... People aren’t rooting for us together, but I think one thing we both feel is it’s not Team Clayton, it’s not Team Susie, we’re together, and we do want people to root for us and know that we have our best intentions at the forefront of who we are."

As for if it was all worth it in the end, Clayton emphatically stated that it "1000 percent" was.

"I couldn’t be happier. I spent the last four months with her. She just impresses me more and more every day," he gushed. "She continues to give me reason after reason why following my heart was the best decision I could’ve ever made. I could not be more in love with this woman."

While no proposal came on Tuesday night, Clayton did hand out his final rose to a grinning Susie.

"I'm moving right in with her, going to Virginia here in the next couple of days. I left my job, I sold my condo, all to give this a fair shot," he said. "We know that it requires effort like any other relationship, but we’ve got a lot of exciting things ahead."


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