There was one holdout leading up to fantasy suites who still hadn't told Rachel that he loved her yet, and that final holdout was Eric. He also happens to be the one guy this season who had never been in love, and the last woman he brought home to mom was his high school prom date. Needless to say, Eric was one of the least experienced guys on The Bachelorette and Rachel definitely had concerns about his maturity and readiness for marriage. But, after a prolonged period of grilling, Eric told Rachel he loves her on The Bachelorette over dainty tapas in Rioja, Spain.
The dinner actually looked pretty tense at first. Rachel seemed agitated that she didn't know where Eric stood and, like so many Bachelorettes before her, she was forced to drag his feelings out of him at the eleventh hour. She found about a hundred ways to ask Eric the same question at their final dinner before fantasy suites, and Eric struggled with each one. He was also forthcoming, though, about how emotionally challenged he felt by Rachel and how much he liked her tough questions forcing him to get vulnerable. Eventually, he seemed to catch on, and it was right in the nick of time, too.
As Rachel's frustration was building, Eric finally made a grand "I love you" speech that satisfied her:
"I'm just here to say that I'm in love with you. And I tried to run — week three, week four — and it's like, 'Nah, E, nah, that's not happening no more.' This is it. And I'm here. And I'm here for you. And I'm just happy, man, I'm really happy. I've never felt this way with a girl, like, ever. And so, Rachel Lindsay, I love you."
She didn't say it back, but there was a great kiss, an orchestral swell, and an invite to the fantasy suite. Rachel revealed in a cutaway interview:
"It feels amazing to know exactly how Eric feels. He flat out told me that he loves me and I don't have to wonder anymore. I'm not confused. I know exactly how he feels and that feels good. I needed that this week. Talk about that unexplainable feeling. He's amazing."
So Eric salvaged their date at exactly the right moment and got to enjoy a sweet night with Rachel. She's said she's falling in love with Peter, who is still in the game, and Dean, who went home. So it might be telling that she didn't tell Eric I love you back. Stay tuned to find out how Rachel reconciles her feelings.