Nick M., a 27-year-old investment advisor from Charlotte, NC; Will, a 28-year-old banker from Chicago, IL; and Robert, a 30-year-old advertising entrepreneur from Los Angeles, CA, were all eliminated during the second episode's Rose Ceremony.
"To be honest, I'm a little shocked. I came here to meet the woman of my dreams and it didn't work out. It's really tough. I feel pretty rejected. It's horrible. Heartbreak is like a pit in your stomach and it doesn't go away. It's not a good feeling at all and it's hard to find something that can get you back up. It was one of those things, it's just something that we all want and it's probably the most desired thing to have. And when you can't have it or it goes away when you think you have it, it hurts," Nick M. said following his ouster.
The Bachelorette's second ninth-season episode began with host Chris Harrison telling the 19 remaining bachelors there would be two one-on-one dates and one group date over the course of the next week. There would be a rose up for grabs during each -- and if the bachelors on the one-on-one dates failed to receive a rose, they would be ousted immediately.
Brooks, a 28-year-old marketing consultant from Salt Lake City, UT, then learned he would be accompanying Desiree on the season's first one-on-one date.
Brooks called Desiree a "ball of mystery" and he was so excited to begin getting to know her better. Desiree thought Brooks was a fun guy and so she was thrilled about going on her first date with him.
"I did not want Brooks to get that date. He's nice, he's genuine -- but still, he's not me. It's hard to watch Des drive away with another guy, so bottom line is, I don't want Brooks to get a rose tonight," said Ben, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and single dad from Dallas, TX.
Desiree brought Brooks to a bridal shop and tried on dresses for him to give him a slice of what her professional life is like as a bridal stylist. Brooks tried on tuxedos as well and the pair ate cake and was greeted by fans in the streets. The couple then got up to the famous Hollywood sign and sat upon one of its letters. Desiree told Brooks the sign represented how she pursued her dreams and passions in Los Angeles. Brooks felt ontop of the world and loved sharing that special moment with The Bachelorette star.
Brooks then dove into his relationship history a bit with Des. He said he had gotten out of a very loving relationship a year and a half prior. Brooks explained he hoped he'd find that strong level of love again, and Desiree understood where he was coming from because she had experienced similar feelings. The couple then kissed on the sign.
Afterwards, Desiree and Brooks enjoyed dinner on a bridge closed off and shut down just for the two of them. Brooks talked a little bit about his father and how they didn't have much of a relationship for years following his parents' divorce. Brooks said that was a big part of his life missing for awhile but he ended up patching things up with his father after they had an emotional conversation.
Meanwhile, back at the L.A. mansion, the other 18 men learned that 14 of them would have to share the group date with Desiree.
Will; Nick; Ben; Zak W., a 31-year-old drilling fluid engineer from Mico, TX; Brandon, a 26-year-old painting contractor from Costa Mesa, CA, Juan Pablo, a 31-year-old former pro soccer player from Miami, FL; Drew, a 27-year-old digital marketing analyst from Scottsdale, AZ; Michael G., a 33-year-old federal prosecutor from Miami Beach, FL; Zack K., a 28-year-old book publisher from Newport Beach, CA; James, a 27-year-old advertising executive from Chicago, IL; Brian, a 29-year-old financial advisor from Baltimore, MD; Dan, a 30-year-old beverage sales director from Las Vegas, NV; and Mikey T., a 30-year-old plumbing contractor from Winfield, IL, all learned they'd be participating in the group date.
Back on Desiree's date with Brooks, The Bachelorette star offered her suitor the rose.
"I just want to thank you for being so open and so vulnerable. You told me your stories and honestly, that has got to be hard, and for you to feel comfortable telling me means the most to me. So I really want to spend more time with you and I want to get to know you more, and Brooks, will you accept this rose?" she asked.
Brooks gladly accepted the rose and could feel chemistry between them. The couple then received a private concert from Andy Grammer and his band. They danced and kissed in the street.
"Desiree is the type of girl I could easily fall in love with. She knows what she wants and she's sexy. It was just like me and her, and everything in life was great," Brooks said. "We connected on a lot of different levels and I feel like I know Desiree really well. I know that sounds strange after one first date, but I cannot wait to see where it's going."
Desiree wondered if her journey on the show could possibly get any better than that.
The next day, 14 suitors and Desiree embarked on their group date together. The bachelors soon discovered they'd be starring in a rap video with Soulja Boy and they were shocked. There video was entitled "For the Right Reasons" and the rap's lyrics poked fun at previous Bachelors and The Bachelorette suitors. Desiree told the guys she wanted someone who could make a fool of himself and just laugh about it.
Soulja Boy then announced most of the guys were going to be backup dancers, while Ben, Michael G., Brandon, and James were its stars. Ben dressed in a cowboy outfit and had to serenade Desiree, while Brandon had to wear a tight tan-colored speedo for his part in the video. In the end, Desiree was impressed with how the guys let loose and had fun with the activity. Everyone got a good laugh out of it.
Following the video, Desiree relaxed a little bit with her bachelors. Zak W. pulled her aside first and gave her an antique journal that's never been written in and featured a beautiful inscription from a father to his daughter. Zak told Desiree she could write her thoughts in the journal throughout the process, and if things ended up working out between the two of them, they could one day look back at the journal and re-live their memories together.
Zak insisted he didn't want Desiree to just see him as a clown, and Desiree thought the gesture was unbelievably sweet and showed a different side of Zak.
While guys were getting some alone time with Desiree, Ben said his approach wasn't going to be sitting back and waiting for Des to approach him. He said he was going to be aggressive and go after the girl. Just as Mikey was telling Des about his close-knit Italian family, Ben interrupted and stole her away.
"I don't know if Ben's here for the right reasons or not the right reasons. His attitude and who he is as a person, that I don't know. I'm still figuring this stuff out. There's just something he does that rubs him wrong. My intuition says he's not here for the right reasons," James told the cameras.
Ben talked to Desiree a little bit about his son Brody and said he could definitely see himself spending the rest of his life with her. He gave her a kiss and was ready for things to take off between them.
"When I looked over and I saw them kissing, that's hard. I don't want her to end up with a guy who's here for the wrong reasons or that's just not right, because I never expected the feelings that I have right now. Every time I'm around her, I feel like she's a really great woman and she deserves a really great man. After tonight, I feel like I can be that man for her and I need to make sure that I get some time with her," Brandon said.
Michael G. then sat down with Desiree and made a promise to her that he'd have her back and let her know if any guys were playing her or not truly on the show for love.
Meanwhile, Mikey's frustrations with Ben were boiling, and he noted he had an unsettling feeling about the guy. Many bachelors agreed with Mikey, and therefore, Mikey decided to confront Ben about their suspicions. Mikey told Ben there was a "politician" vibe about him and that he seemed disingenuous or fake. Ben responded by saying he didn't want any tension and wouldn't be the guy to trash talk other suitors or say something he didn't mean.
Over at the mansion, the next date card arrived and Bryden, a 26-year-old Iraqi War veteran from Missoula, MT, learned he'd be accompanying Des on the week's second one-on-one date.
On the group date, Brandon got some time to talk to Desiree about his life growing up. Brandon explained he moved every two years of his childhood because his dad left his family when he was five and his mother was a drug addict. He said he basically raised his little brother and sister and therefore never got the opportunity to go to a great college. He noted that he wasn't well off and probably didn't measure up to some of the guys in those ways, but he said he can't wait to have children.
Brandon told Desiree if he ended up with her, he couldn't wait to come home to her at the end of the day and love her. Des said he had a great positive energy about him and an obvious kindness in his heart. Brandon claimed he was "falling in like" with Desiree and was shocked it was happening so quickly.
Afterward, Desiree decided to give the group date rose to Ben for being bold and using his time wisely. The gesture hurt Mikey's feelings, and Brandon and Mikey both agreed Des wasn't looking for a guy like Ben.
The next day, Desiree went on her one-on-one date with Bryden. The couple went on a roadtrip together. They bought snacks, went to the beach, flew a kite, played in the ocean, ate some fish tacos, went orange picking, and then had a picnic. Desiree noticed she was laughing an awful lot with Bryden and truly enjoyed his carefree, fun personality.
Des and Bryden enjoyed dinner afterwards and discussed how much fun they had together. Desiree wondered how Bryden lived every day with such passion and conviction, and it was then when Bryden opened up about a serious accident he had been in years prior during his college days. Bryden got very seriously injured in a car crash in which he had over 100 staples put into his head, multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung.
Bryden showed Desiree some pictures of his work truck that was in the wreck and then continued on with his story. Bryden told her that he wanted to be in the military but didn't know if he could even pass the medical exam at that point. However, he did pass the exam and entered the military immediately after. Bryden told her that it's important to make the most out of life, every single moment, because you never know when it could be taken from you.
"The more I learn about Bryden, the more I want to get to know him and the more that I can see a potential future with him. It's exciting. I want to see where that can go and see if it would be a relationship that lasts," Desiree said.
Desiree then asked Bryden what he saw coming up in his future and his next relationship, and Bryden admitted the military was a scapegoat for him and he was ready for something real -- ready to share his life with somebody.
"This date definitely has the potential to be life-changing. Desiree is such a real person, such a genuine person, and sharing these things with her helps her learn about me. I'd love to hang out with her more because I definitely think it could continue into something else," Bryden told the cameras.
Desiree then offered Bryden the date's rose and he gladly accepted. Desiree appreciated Bryden opening up and letting her in. She was comfortable with him and felt chemistry, and she said she loved looking into his eyes. She thought he was "100% percent such an amazing man." The pair then got into the pool, and after a little hesitation and awkward conversation, Desiree said, "Just kiss me already."
Bryden then went for it and gave Des a kiss.
The next night, the cocktail party preceding the Rose Ceremony took place, so each of them bachelors would have one last chance to steal some personal time with Desiree. The men who did not get a one-on-one date or group date with Desiree were especially on edge, because they didn't want to be sent home without a fair shot to get to know her.
Michael G. began telling Des that he has Type 1 Diabetes, but once again, Ben interrupted the conversation and swooped her away. Michael G. thought it was a bold, rude move and most of the guys were surprised and disappointed by Ben's behavior.
Ben kissed Des again during their alone time even though he had already gotten a rose, saying they shared a secret because the guys didn't know they had kissed already. Michael G. said he couldn't just sit back and let behavior like that happen, so he called Ben out for rubbing the guys the wrong way and acting like a frontrunner all the time. Ben argued he really was there for Des and was just doing what he needed to do for their personal relationship.
Michael G. thought Ben was a liar, especially when Ben insisted he didn't believe he was stealing Des from anyone. Ben didn't think the situations in which he interrupted conversations were inappropriate in any way. Michael G. told the cameras Ben was setting a poor example for his son Brody, showing him to lie his way out of messy situations.
Michael G. and some of the guys then stood in a group and discussed how Ben talked a lot about the bar he owns but not about his own son. Ben allegedly made a comment that previous Bachelors who owned one bar ended up owning five because of the popularity they gained from being on a reality TV show.
Brian, a 29-year-old financial advisor from Baltimore, MD, then pulled Desiree aside and they discussed previous relationship history. Brian said he was in a relationship where things were just comfortable and it was difficult to end it. Des understood what it's like to want that companionship even though the person may not be "the one." Brian said his relationship ended two months prior to that moment, but emotionally, it was over six months prior.
Besides Brooks, Ben and Bryden, Desiree gave roses to James; Kasey, a 29-year-old advertising executive from San Luis Obispo, CA; Dan; Juan Pablo; Brad, a 27-year-old accountant from Denver, CO; Chris, a 27-year-old mortgage broker from Seattle, WA; Brian; Zak W.; Drew; Mikey; Zach K.; Michael G.; and Brandon.
"I came here for love. I was ready for it. I was super excited about having a relationship with Des, and it just didn't work out. I want to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, and I think she's a great person. I think that she's the type of woman I would love to pursue, but I probably put myself too far into the friend-zone," Will said following his ouster.
"Sucks that I didn't get a rose. It's not what I expected at all. I didn't see this coming. I came out here for what I thought were the right reasons, and right now, I'm just sad and bummed out that I'm going home. You know, being in love is amazing, it's a great feeling. You have a best friend and somebody you can talk to and be open with, and that's what I was looking for and it just didn't work out. It's a nightmare, an absolute nightmare," Robert explained.