How a Dallas gal became the dark horse in the hunt for love on 'The Bachelor'

Considering four women named Lauren competed on Arie Luyendyk's season of The Bachelor, there was a pretty good chance one of them would make it all the way.

Which Lauren rose to the top? None other than Lauren Burnham of Dallas, who is now just one of two ladies left in the running to win the coveted ring and fiancé. But how did she get here?

Really — that's a question viewers have been trying to answer since the Dallas sales exec emerged as the dark horse mid-season. So we've decided to look back and chart Arie and Lauren's relationship from awkward first meeting to awkward family dinner and ultimately the finale.

Lauren steps out of the limo ... with three other Laurens

Bachelor producers stuck all the contestants named Lauren in the same car and sent them to meet Arie on the first night one after another. What kind of cheesy punchline did she dole the former racecar driver's way? We're not sure. She showed him some sort of picture — we have photographic evidence of that much — but frankly, whatever the introduction, she was overshadowed by other women. No first impression rose for Lauren.

During the first week of dates, Lauren sat the bench

In fact, Arie left the two remaining women from Dallas — both seriously named Lauren — dateless. Not off to a strong start.

Finally a date — and a flop

Lauren and her wrestling partner Marikh didn't exactly nail their GLOW performance during one of the group dates.

Lauren was lumped in on a group date during which the contestants got a lesson from two Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) veterans. When it came time to perform, Lauren and her partner Marikh choreographed with more of a sexy pillow fight vibe than hard-hitting match. Let's just say they didn't come close to first place.

On the bright side, she did better than our other Dallas gal, who bombed and was sent home during her first date of the season. Ouch!

Lauren survives date No. 2

Literally. She and 11 other women took a quick wilderness survival class before being broken into teams and given maps to find a hot tub oasis in the middle of the Lake Tahoe forest. This was the first time viewers saw a little bit of personality out of the 25-year-old.

"I like the thought of when we're super old and gross looking and still spanking each other on the butts," she told the bachelor.

Awkward silence

The next time viewers see Arie and Lauren spend time alone together, they're in Paris — and the whole date is utterly painful. She can't seem to find words for conversation, except maybe "Wow" and "It's beautiful." The architecture? "Wow." Look at that! "It's beautiful." So many people. "Wow." You get the idea.

Arie made an unpopular move the following week after the group traveled to Tuscany and he asked Lauren on another solo excursion. This time he shocked viewers by dropping a casual "I'm falling deeply in love with you." Seriously, dude? She has barely said a full sentence to you!

Home to Virginia Beach, Va.

The moment she and Arie stepped in her parents' home, it was apparent where Lauren developed her awkward silence skills. "Have you ever known anyone from a military family?" her dad asked before threatening to potentially "[expletive] kill him" during an on-camera interview. Tough crowd.

Somehow — magic? — Arie ended up winning over Lauren's parents, leaving Bachelor Nation befuddled.

Now they're in love, but is it happily ever after?

Lauren and Arie go bowling as part of a group date and competition.

From hometowns, the bachelor and his three remaining contestants flew to Peru for the Fantasy Suite dates, which are essentially (consensual) slumber parties. Lauren and Arie took a plane to check out the Nazca Lines in the desert, which was great except that Lauren couldn't stop thinking about her boyfriend's other girlfriends. Arie reassured her by laying down a big, fat "L" word.

"It's just kind of crazy how quick and how hard I fell for you," he said.

"I just want you to know I do feel confident in all of this because I love you and would hate to lose you."

Romantic, right? Just one problem: He told the other top contender, Becca, the same thing.

So, who wins out? That's still up for debate. According Spoiler in Chief, blogger Reality Steve, the season winner may not have kept her ring for long. We'll have more deets on that in the days to come.

Tune in Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m. for the dramatic, three-hour season finale of The Bachelor to see how our Dallas lady fares.

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