“We’re so excited to be out in public and not have to hide anymore,” Underwood, 27, tells PEOPLE in the latest cover story. “I’m so in love, and I’m ready for everyone to know it.”
Adds Randolph, 23: “We can finally be outwardly happy, and not have to keep this big secret.”
- For more on Cassie and Colton, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
It was a season to remember, most notably because the former football player diverged from the traditional Bachelor path in more ways than one.
“I know there’s a certain format that comes along with being The Bachelor,” says Underwood, who broke things off with runners-up Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin after Randolph left, overwhelmed by the possibility of an imminent proposal. “But this was about the rest of my life. And I couldn’t risk giving Cassie up.”
That means the pair aren’t engaged — for now, at least.
- Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.
“She doesn’t have a ring on her finger yet,” says Underwood. “But she will, one day.”
“We definitely talk about our future engagement,” Randolph, a speech pathologist, adds. “We’re both excited to get to that point.”
Ring or no ring, they are making (major) moves for the future.
“I am now a California resident,” says Underwood, who moved from Denver to Los Angeles to be closer to Randolph, whom he calls “girlfriend,” in West Hollywood.
Still, the couple says they won’t move in together, just yet.
“Our goal is to buy a house in Huntington Beach in the next year, but we probably won’t move in together until we’re engaged or married,” says Underwood. “As much as I want her to live with me, it’s a big step and something we both take very seriously.”
Whatever their timeline may be, Underwood has zero regrets about his Bachelor journey. “I came on The Bachelor wanting to be madly in love when I left,” he says. “And that’s exactly what happened.”