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Arie & Lauren B. Have Have Met Before 'The Bachelor' & It's A Game-Changer

On Lauren and Arie's last date before the final rose ceremony, Lauren dropped a crucial piece of information which we haven't heard about until now. She mentioned that Arie didn't remember meeting her in Dallas, which apparently happened before the show started filming. So did Arie and Lauren B. meet before The Bachelor? If so, it could lend a ton of insight into Arie's decision-making process in the finale.

For their final date, Arie and Lauren took a train up to Machu Picchu, hiked the ruins, and then ended their date in a fireside chat, quietly reassuring each other of their love. While riding the train (privately, of course), the couple began reminiscing about their time together.

"It feels like it's been forever since I saw you step out of the limo," Arie said.

Lauren replied, "I can still picture the first day...me walking up to you and you forgetting that you met me in Dallas."

Hold up. What?! Neither of them spoke more about the moment and we definitely never saw that conversation play out at the first cocktail party, so what is going on? Needless to say, Twitter was pretty floored over the reveal and promptly freaked out.

All season long, viewers have questioned how Lauren B. could possibly have made it to the final two. She's been super quiet, shy, and reserved, and she often declined to give Arie the kind of vulnerability he was asking for from his potential partner. She spoke so little, in fact, that Vulture (pretty easily, by the looks of it) compiled a succinct roundup of every word Lauren B. has ever spoken to Arie just to prove how odd it is that the couple claimed to have such a strong connection.

How could Arie be so overwhelmingly drawn to Lauren when she revealed next to nothing about herself? He's had to painstakingly coax out of her every single vulnerable moment they shared, and he's discussed at length his concerns over how much time he's had to spend reassuring her. Arie's obviously worried that he'll have to spend their entire relationship doing that, whereas, with Becca, he's mentioned feeling more like "a team." If Arie and Lauren met before the season began filming, they may have shared something we didn't see which could explain why he feels their connection so strongly.

Paul Hebert/ABC

At the final rose ceremony (where Lauren got dumped), she referenced "when I met you this summer" in her final speech to Arie just before he broke her heart. The Bachelor typically starts filming toward the end of September, so it's unclear if she was talking about the first night in the mansion, or this mystery meeting in Dallas. But it's worth noting that, during their conversation on the train, she said that Arie didn't remember their encounter in her hometown. It's hard to believe that a meeting he didn't remember influenced his decision to keep her around for so long. But it's possible that she jogged his memory about it at some point during the cocktail party and we just never saw that particular conversation unfold. Maybe Arie eventually remembered her and their initial spark?

Whatever happened in Dallas (and during the season in moments we didn't see on-camera), it obviously affected Arie profoundly. He was having such a hard time shaking off his relationship with Lauren after he proposed to Becca, in fact, that he actually called off his engagement to try and reconcile with her. It was definitely a controversial decision, but it seems like a lot more went on behind the scenes between Lauren and Arie than we got to see.

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