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'The Bachelor' headed to the Rose City

INSTAGRAM - West Linn native Lauren Bushnell was back home earlier this month and is expected to be seen escorting 'The Bachelor' around her hometown in Monday's episode. Episode 7 of “The Bachelor” was an important one for West Linn’s Lauren Bushnell (who is now referred to on the show as Lauren instead of Lauren B as the other three Laurens have been eliminated) for a number of reasons.

A rose would advance Bushnell to hometown dates, meaning Bachelor Ben Higgins would travel to West Linn to meet her family. It would also mean she would be one of just four remaining women on the show, leaving her that much closer to winning the 26-year-old software salesman’s heart.

To start things off, Higgins and the six women left traveled to the Bachelor’s hometown of Warsaw, Indiana. Bushnell said she was anxious to clear the air after now-eliminated contestant Leah lied to Higgins about Bushnell’s attitude and was relieved when Higgins asked her on the first one-on-one date of the episode.

Higgins started off with a quick tour of the town he grew up in, showing Bushnell his school, the old movie theater where he had his first kiss and finally the Boys and Girls Club where he spent much of his time as a kid. There, the two went inside to meet some of the people Higgins worked with while in high school, as well as play with the group of kids. Bushnell jumped rope, dished out hugs and high fives and even scored on Higgins in a game of one-on-one basketball before Paul George and George Hill of the Indiana Pacers came out to surprise everyone.

Both Higgins and Bushnell seemed to enjoy themselves, even buckling to the peer pressure of the kids at one point for a quick kiss before heading back to Higgins’ place for a more serious talk. Bushnell told Higgins about her anxiety from last week, and assured him that the woman he’d come to know was indeed the real her. Relieved, Higgins told Bushnell he trusted her and after some laughter and kissing the pair went to Higgins’ regular dive bar where they celebrated the date with his friends.

Bushnell went on to say that the date went even better than she could have imagined, admitting she was fully falling for Higgins. “I’m not in love with Ben, the Bachelor. I’m in love with Ben from Warsaw, Indiana,” she told the camera. At this point in the season there are no longer one-on-one roses, meaning Bushnell would have to wait until the rose ceremony at the end of the episode to learn her fate, but she said she felt good about how things had gone.

But while Bushnell and Higgins’ date went well, there was still plenty more happening in Episode 7. The next day Higgins took contestant JoJo to Wrigley Field to play baseball in the legendary ballpark before a romantic dinner in centerfield.

After JoJo’s date, Caila, Amanda and Becca were invited on the following day’s group date. After some awkward moments in row boats on the lake and some kite flying, the trio and Higgins headed to a secluded barn where each contestant received a chance to talk with the Bachelor in private. Each had their concerns about where they stood with Higgins, eventually leading to the group date rose, which went to Amanda.

Her reward, in addition to being safe in the upcoming rose ceremony, was a night working the McDonald’s drive-thru with Higgins. Though she didn’t seem thrilled — and who could blame her — things picked up when Higgins took her to the town fair later that night, where the single mom of two and Higgins shared a romantic carousel ride.

The final date of the episode was with twin Emily, where things went bad from the start. Higgins took the 23-year-old to meet his parents, who immediately told the Bachelor that Emily seemed young for him. Higgins sent her home at the end of the date, meaning there would be four roses for the remaining five women at the impending ceremony. Unsurprisingly, Bushnell received the first rose, while Becca was the contestant eliminated.

Promos for next week episode showed Bushnell and Higgins in Portland, as well as at her parents’ house in West Linn to meet her family. The promo also hinted, meanwhile, that members of JoJo’s family will become angry with Higgins during her hometown date, leading to some more controversy. To find out if Bushnell advances to the final three, and to see West Linn on national television, tune in to next week’s episode Monday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on ABC.