Jessica Scores Bachelor Jesse Touchdown

05/20/2004 at 07:00 AM EDT

Jessica Scores Bachelor Jesse Touchdown
ABC
After first throwing up, Tara Huckeby left in tears Wednesday night when The Bachelor, New York Giants backup quarterback Jesse Palmer, picked blonde California law student Jessica Bowlin to be … his girlfriend, not his wife.

"This whole thing to me is like a dream," Jesse, 25, told Jessica, 22, at the moment of truth on the ABC dating show, "and tomorrow morning I'm gonna wake up from that dream into the real world. But I don't want to wake up tomorrow morning if I can't wake up with you."

Jesse relied on his "gut instinct" when making his selection, being careful to spell out for Jessica: "I am not ready to propose to you tonight. I think that we need more time to grow and learn about each other."

Her response: "I don't need a proposal. I just want to walk out with you."

Producing a one-way ticket to New York, Jesse invited Jessica "to chase all your dreams, but do it with me," which presumably the two will be doing as they start the chat-show rounds.

As for tossed-aside Tara, the 23-year-old general contractor from Oklahoma was so emotionally wrung-out before receiving word from Jesse that she tossed her cookies in a hedge after getting out of her limo.

"I don't want you to say anything," Tara tearfully told Jesse. "You would make me happier than any other person in this entire world, if I am the girl standing here at the very end."

"Tara," said Jesse, "I've fallen in love with someone else."

That stopped Tara's tears. "I really wish you hadn't led me on the way you did and said things you did," she scolded him.

It had even been the advice of Jesse's father to pick Tara. But he didn't listen.

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