Walking through the market, they were laughing as they moved their cart through the aisles.
"You have to use either Maui or Vidalia onions 'cause they carmelize better to my taste," she explained in the produce area. "And your contribution is to chop them, fine."
He frowned. "Really?"
She grinned. "Punishment…for making me mad earlier."
He traced her cheek with his finger and focused on her eyes intently. "I thought I made up for that."
She blushed with a smile. "You did." She looked forward and moved the cart forward. "Need bell peppers, too."
Suddenly their cart was run into by another cart.
The woman driving the cart was easily six-foot-tall, blonde, with tan skin and dark eyes. Her fingernails were long and brightly decorated. Her skirt was tight and bright orange with a white, frilly top. She chewed her gum loudly and looked down at Liz. "Sorry," she said in a surprisingly deep voice. "I didn't see you."
When she walked away, Liz looked up at Magnum with wide eyes. His eyes were equally wide and dancing as he was attempting to hold back a laugh. One look at his face and she snorted a laugh she was trying to hold back. This caused him to laugh as well.
"We're horrible! We shouldn't laugh."
Magnum attempted to sober, but his eyes were dancing. "You're right, it was just so…unexpected!"
"I think she might have a deeper voice than TC!" Liz whispered.
Magnum laughed again. Together, they moved along through the market, getting the remaining ingredients, the incident quickly forgotten. Then Magnum paid with the estate account and they moved outside. They were laughing over something silly Magnum had said at the register as they loaded the groceries into the boot of the Ferrari.
On the road back to the estate, Magnum was frowning at the review mirror when Liz put her hand on his on the stick shift. He smiled at her, then glanced up into the review mirror again.
She frowned. "What is it, Thomas?"
"Hmm? Oh, nothing," he smiled at her again.
But she wasn't buying it and looked in to the side mirror. "You're worried about something, what is it?"
"Oh, I'm sure it's nothing."
"But your intuition is tell you otherwise. What?"
"But it seems I've seen that car before - earlier today on the way to your house, then in the parking lot at the market. Now it seems to be following us."
"Do you know it?"
He looked at her with seriousness. "No. Hold on."
She swallowed and nodded as he dropped the sports car into a lower gear and punched the gas, taking the next right at a speed that made her feel like centrifugal force might put her in his lap. She smiled at the idea, despite her anxiety.
After a few moments, he turned left and landed on a straight away, where he slowed slightly to see if the car was still behind him. When it appeared, he downshifted again and punched it.
When the first shot rang out, Liz's eyes widened and she looked at Magnum.
"Get down!" he yelled.
The second shot added emphasis to his command and Liz scrunched down in the seat until she was almost under the dash.
"Hang on!" he turned another corner as another shot rang out and something impacted with the driver's side of the car, toward the back. "Dammit!" he shouted at the image in the rearview. He turned another corner and increased his speed on the straight away, turning suddenly before the other car could finish its own turn before the straight away. He spun the Ferrari in a 180 to face the way they'd come and backed up to hide it under the shade of some trees. Then he leaned over toward her. "Watch your head," he said, opening the glove box above her. He pulled out his gun, checked the clip and watched the road. "It passed us, but in case it comes back."
She looked up from the foot well and nodded, fear clearly etched in her features.
Magnum sighed and reached for her hand. "Come on out of there."
"Are you sure?"
He pulled her hand to pull her back up to the passenger seat. "How did you fit down there?! I've never seen anyone fit like that before!"
She shrugged. "I guess I'm like a hedgehog in shooting situations." Her voice contained a tremble.
He reached over and took her hand. "Let's go to the estate and call Tanaka."
He was serious, continually checking the rearview and their surroundings, and she was silent, examining her hands most the time, as they made their way into the estate. At the main house, they were met by Higgins and "The Lads", who went straight to Liz's side of the car. Apollo put his forepaws up on the door and looked in at her, whimpering. Liz reached over and buried her face in the dog's neck as Magnum got out of the car.
"What happened?!" Higgins questioned, alarmed by The Lads' behavior and Liz's response.
"Somebody shot at us," Magnum said, simply, moving around to the passenger side. "We need to call Tanaka." He shooed the dogs from the side of the car, which they left only minimal resistance. He opened the door and pulled Liz out, wrapped his arm around her and started around the car.
"The groceries," she said.
Before Magnum could respond, Higgins said. "Don't worry. I'll see to it."
"What about the car? Is it okay?" She asked Magnum.
He looked down at her. "We'll look at it later. For now, let's go inside and call Tanaka."
She nodded. "Okay."
Inside, he sat her in the study and went to the desk.
Liz became more alarmed as she listened to Magnum's end of the exchange:
"Lieutenant – you were? Why? He's out?! When? How?" Deep breath. "Well, that explains it…someone shot at us on the way from the supermarket to the estate. Yeah, we're fine. Shaken up…Black Camaro…no, I was never behind it to get the license, I was trying to get away because he was shooting at us!" Another deep breath. "You're right, I'm sorry. Can you just send someone out to the estate again? You did? Okay. Good. Yeah. See you." He hung up the phone and hung his head.
"Julio made bail."
He turned to face her when she softly spoke these words. He nodded. He picked up the phone and dialed it again. "TC, I need your help."
"That is preposterous!" Higgins exclaimed from the doorway. "How could that have happened? And why didn't Tanaka or Carol call you when it happened?!"
"Tanaka said he just found out and I don't think Carol's at work this week. Her cousin was coming into town," he said, from the phone, which he was hanging up.
He moved across the room and sat down next to Liz. "He won't get back onto the estate. Tanaka's sending a crew to guard the estate from the road. TC's coming to help guard the grounds…"
Liz shook her head. She took a deep breath and looked up at him. "Call TC back and tell him not to come. Tanaka's guards will be enough for me." She stood. "I am going to go prepare the burgers. Then we," she looked down at Magnum. "Are going to watch the last game of the Cubs v. Tigers, where I promise to root for the Tigers."
"Elizabeth, you needn't – " Higgins started.
"No!" she said, abruptly. Then, she paused and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," she said, more gently. "I will not let this news or the car ride back here ruin what has been a wonderfully enjoyable day. I intend to finish it in the manner I wanted it to finish." She took a deep breath, again, and paused. "I will deal with what we have to deal with tomorrow." Then with a toss of her head, she walked out of the room.
Magnum was standing by the time she finished speaking.
Higgins watched her walk out, then looked up at Magnum. "Will you call TC back?"
Magnum shook his head. "I'll ask him to watch the tidal pool from inside the gate. From a spot inside the wall that will allow him to see if any crosses the grounds."
"I will set the Lads to patrol." Higgins nodded. "And in the meantime, we must do as she requests. The constant uncertainty must understandably be wearing on her. We need to give her slight sense of normalcy that she requests."
Magnum nodded with a frown. "I'd better go check on her. I told her I'd chop onions."
Higgins nodded. "I'll take the Lads on a walk of the perimeter."
Magnum nodded and walked out of the study.
Magnum found Liz, with ingredients laid out on the kitchen island, looking up into a cabinet.
"Thomas! I need the Worchestershire sauce up there!"
He smiled at her and easily reached over her to the bottle that was just out of her reach. She took it over to the island, picked up a knife and the onion and put them on the cutting board in front of him with a smile. He dropped his chin to his chest then looked at her with a half grin. "I was hoping you'd forgotten that part."
She smiled. "Nope! Small chop, please."
Good sport that he was, Magnum picked up the knife and began to cut and chop the onion per her instructions as she did things such as mince garlic, chop bacon and prepare spices. They talked easily of inconsequential things as they prepared the burgers. Once they were ready, Magnum went to pull the grill out to the patio and started it up.
TC appeared. "Psst! Thomas!"
"TC!" Magnum jogged over to his buddy. "I don't want Liz to see you. She told me to call you to stay home."
"And you're barbecuing?!"
"Liz is making burgers." Magnum frowned. "She wants tonight to be 'normal'. I'll save you a burger."
TC nodded. "I don't blame her. Constantly being torn between safety and danger would be hard on anyone."
Magnum nodded. "Thanks, TC."
"I want one of those burgers, TM."
Magnum nodded as TC jogged back toward the wall adjacent to the tidal pool gate. Immediately after TC disappeared into the night, Liz arrived with the platter of burgers to be cooked.
"Are the coals hot?"
"Hmm? Oh, well, it's gas," he said, as if to apologize.
She smiled. "I didn't figure Robin Masters would have a charcoal grill. I meant, is the grill hot?"
Magnum waved his hand over the grill. "Almost perfect, I'd say."
She handed him the tray of burgers and the tongs with a smile. "Here you go," she said, brightly.
His eyebrows rose as he accepted her offerings. "Oh, I'm cooking?"
Her smile broadened. "Well, of course! Isn't the grill a man's domain?"
Chuckling, he nodded and began to place the burgers on the hot grill. "I guess you're right."
"Usually am. Not always, but usually."
He looked over at her with a frown under raised eyebrows of skepticism.
She laughed. "Well, as far as you know!"
He shook his head and went back to the grill.
About twenty minutes later, Liz was setting the table with buns, condiments, the potato salad and coleslaw they'd purchased at the market as Magnum summoned Higgins.
To her delight, both men declared the burgers the best they'd ever had and the three of them enjoyed a casual dinner of small talk as if there were no worries in the world. At the end of the meal, Higgins assured her that he would take care of cleaning up what dishes remained and that she and Magnum should retire for their baseball game.
She walked over and reached up to the Englishman's cheek and placed a kiss on it. "Thank you for everything, Jonathan."
He smiled a smile of an uncle looking down at a beloved niece. "Absolutely, my dear."
Hours later, after the Tigers beat the Cubs in a squeaker, the same channel was playing Key Largo and Liz's reaction made Magnum smile, take his hat from her head, kiss her lightly and sit back to watch the movie. He put his arm around her and she rested her head against his chest as they both put their feet up on the coffee table.
By the time the movie was over, they were both asleep, his cheek resting on her head and her cheek on his chest. One of her knees was curled up to rest on his thigh and one of her hands was curled on his chest just above his top button, fingers woven into the hair on his chest, as his arm was wrapped around her waist.
Late into the night, Magnum's head fell backward and he started awake.
"Hmm?" Liz yawned.
He looked down at her and smiled. He pressed his lips to her head and took in the smell of her hair as he debated staying on the couch or taking her to bed.
"We fell asleep?" Liz murmured.
He sat up. "Come on. Let's go sleep in bed. It's more comfortable."
"I don't know how that's possible." She said around a yawn.
He grinned. "I'll show you."
She allowed herself to be led to the bed, where she crawled under the blankets, then shimmied out of her jean, tossing them on the floor. Arching her back, momentarily, she then relaxed and moved her arms around the blanket, then tossed her bra on the floor before turning to look at Magnum who was looking at her. She pulled back the blankets, sleepily. "Comin'?"
Magnum nodded, stripped down to his shorts and t-shirt and climbed in bed with her, gathered her in his arms and the two of them slept soundly until morning.
They were awakened by a strong knocking on the door. "Magnum! I say, Magnum!"
"WHAT?!" Magnum shouted, as they both sat up and he put his feet on the floor and padded over to the door, opening it. "Higgins?! What is so important?!"
"The grounds have been breached! The Lads are on their way and the police have been notified."
Thomas Magnum, Private Investigator, was instantly awake. He went back in the room and pulled on his pants, then grabbed his gun from his night stand.
"Thomas?" Liz looked at him with wide eyes, the sheet she was still under was grasped in a tight fist.
"Stay here with Higgins," he commanded, softly, but with a hardened look that left no room for protest.
She nodded and watched him go.
Higgins looked watched him go and then looked at her. "I'll make some coffee."
Swallowing, she nodded.
Magnum emerged from the guesthouse and ran across the grounds to where the dogs were barking with fury. He arrived as TC and one of the uniforms converged on the same location. The dogs were at the base of a tree, barking up into its canopy.
Magnum, TC and the officer – Magnum knew him as Duke – raised their weapons to point upward.
"Julio!" Magnum called. "Come down!"
"I have to see Ms. Bolling! I have to warn her!"
"You're in violation of a court order, Mr. Rodriguez!" Duke yelled up. "Come down here, now!"
"Get down, Lads!" TC called to the dogs. "Come on, guys!"
Zeus and Apollo looked at him, then Magnum and backed away from the tree.
"Come down, Julio." Magnum said, putting his gun into his waistband at his back.
Julio crawled down, turning with his hands raised.
Duke grabbed him immediately and put cuffs on him, frisking him for weapons. When he found nothing, he turned Magnum. "Guess who's not making bail a second time?"
"I just need to talk to her!" Julio cried out, trying to turn. "Please! I need to warn her!"
Magnum's eyebrows knit together and he stepped forward to stop Duke. "Wait. Warn her about what?"
"Just let me talk to her. Let me explain."
Magnum raised his hand in an off-putting manner. "Now, that's not going to happen!"
"Please!" Julian's voice went up in pitch and desperation. "I need to explain!"
"Tell me," Magnum said, firmly. "Now, warn her about what?"
Magnum looked at Duke, then TC, who shrugged. "Roberta? Who's Roberta?"
TC looked a Magnum, then back to Julio. "Roberta is your boyfriend?"
Magnum frowned. "What about Roberta?"
"She was in the Marines. She's the one with the gun!"
Suddenly, something clicked into place with Magnum and his little voice, which had been telling him there was something more to this case, suddenly stilled.