Thomas was laughing. That carefree laugh he always had in Juliet’s presence. He looked younger and truly happy. She loved seeing him like that. Her Thomas. Juliet put that thought away, shaking her head slightly. Magnum noticed her movement and frowned.
“Is everything ok?”
“Yeah.” Her voice was weak.
Thomas narrowed his eyes but believed her. His phone buzzed and he took it in his hand, sliding his thumb over the screen one… two times. He sighed and placed the phone onto the table, its screen downwards. His smile dropped and Thomas looked concerned.
Juliet noticed the change in his demeanor and stared at him.
“Yup.” He took a gulp out of his beer and picked at the label absentmindedly. The two fell into a sudden silence. Minutes before they had been joking and telling funny stories from their times in the Military and in MI6, but now that mood was over.
“Are you on speaking terms?”
Thomas chuckled drily. “Not exactly.”
He finished his beer and continued to speak. “She’s the one who broke up with me. I don’t understand why she keeps texting.”
“Are you going to reply?”
Juliet shrugged her shoulders and looked down.
Thomas smiled timidly. “No witty remarks?”
“What do you mean?” Juliet quietly asked.
“I just thought you’d have something to say about this.”
“Thomas…I…” She took a deep breath and brushed away a strand of hair. “I just want what’s best for you. Do you want to talk to Lia?”
“You don’t sound so sure.”
Thomas got up and walked towards the refrigerator to get another beer. Juliet nodded at him, silently asking for one.
“What we had was great, but I don’t think she’s the right person for me.” He sat back next to Juliet. “She lied to me, Higgy. I don’t feel like I can trust her.”
Juliet listened to his words attentively.
“Are you in love with her?”
Thomas looked deeply into Juliet’s eyes. She felt a shiver run down her body. She knew there was something between her and Thomas. Ever since her appointment with Dr. Ogawa she let herself think more openly about the possibility of her and Thomas being more than just best friends. And she was sure he felt something for her too. But she couldn’t lose Thomas. He was too important to her. The most important person in her life. How could Juliet go on with her life if their relationship didn’t work out or worse – should something happen to Thomas? The memory of Richard’s death was engrained onto Juliet’s mind.
“No. I don’t think I ever was.”
Juliet let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.
“Why did you date her then?” The question was out of her mouth before she had time to stop it. “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate. You don’t have to answer.”
“No, it’s ok. I liked her. She’s pretty. The sex was great.”
Juliet rolled her eyes and interrupted him. “Magnum! I don’t need to hear about that!”
Thomas laughed and lifted his hand, brushing his fingers over Juliet’s arm. She inhaled sharply but didn’t remove her arm. After several seconds she relaxed under his touch. He laced his fingers with hers and stood silent, gazing lovingly into her eyes. His deep brown eyes. Juliet could feel herself getting lost in them. As she was, if she were to be honest with herself, every time he looked at her.
In a bold move, Juliet pressed her lips against his, cupping his face with the hand he was not holding. She felt Thomas taking a deep breath and kissing her back, resting his hand on her waist, rubbing circles over her shirt.
Thomas’s tongue licked at her lips and she opened them, letting him deepen the kiss. He pressed her close to him, softly moaning against her mouth. Juliet felt as if she was dreaming, but reality quickly took over, as she felt Thomas placing his hands on her side and slowly pushing her away.
“Higgins…” Thomas looked…upset. “We shouldn’t do this.”
Juliet felt her cheeks getting warm and she was sure she was blushing. Higgins rubbed her temple, embarrassment flooding all over her.
“I’m sorry.” Thomas was staring at his feet. “Are you mad?”
“Look at me? Please.”
“Don’t call me that!”
He scoffed. “That’s your name!”
“You never call me by my first name. If you’re not calling me Higgy, it must mean you’re upset.”
Thomas’s eyes shot up and he looked at her.
“I’m not upset. However, this shouldn’t have happened. I kissed you back. I’m not mad. Don’t worry. Whatever was going to happen, it’d be a mistake.”
“A…mistake…” Juliet whispered.
He glanced at his wristwatch. “It’s late. I think I’m gonna head to bed.” He tapped her leg. “See you tomorrow?”
Juliet hummed and got up, nearing the door. “Bye, Thomas.”
As soon as he heard the door click he buried his face in his hands, sighing. He grabbed a handful of hair and whispered to himself. “What’s your fucking problem, Thomas?”
Juliet couldn’t have reached her bedroom faster. She lied under the covers, not even bothering to wear her pajamas. Her eyes were burning and she cried, hugging the pillow. She felt the tears hitting it and muffled her sobs. Juliet punched the pillow repeatedly, angry mostly at herself, mad that she let her guard down. Kissing Thomas had probably been one of the worst ideas she had in a while, she thought. At first, it seemed to have been a good decision, but when she felt him pulling away, the world crumpled around her.
She fell asleep sometime later, her tears engulfing her and lulling her to sleep.
Higgins met Thomas for breakfast so they could discuss their current case. They would meet with their client, to show him proof of his wife’s affair. Their conversation was calm, no sign of awkwardness between them, which Juliet counted as a victory. She cheered inwardly. The thought of losing Thomas after last night had consumed her, but thankfully the two were back at their old dynamic.
By lunch time they finished their meeting and drove back to Robin’s Nest. Thomas parked the Ferrari and turned off the engine, sending shy glances in Juliet’s direction.
“If you want to say something, just go ahead.”
“You’ve been looking at me like that the entire morning, Thomas.” She played with her fingers nervously. “Are you sure you’re not mad? Are we… good?”
Thomas focused on the steering wheel. “We are. I promise.”
“What is it, then?”
Magnum smiled wistfully and tucked an unruly curl behind Higgins’s ear. She shivered and sighed. Every time he touched her, it felt heavenly. No man could make Juliet feel the way Thomas did.
“Wanna come to the guest house? We can talk for a bit.”
Juliet’s mind was filled with the events of the previous night and she felt physically unable to go with him.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“We could talk in here. What is it that you want to say?”
“You don’t trust me anymore? Higgy, I would never do anything against your will. What do you think I would do?”
“Thomas, it’s not like that! I trust you, like I always have.” She propped her elbow on the passenger door and supported her head on it, looking away, smiling softly when she caught sight of the lads running around, chasing each other playfully. “I’m still embarrassed because of last night. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m so sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize. I told you I was not mad and I meant it. I’m not. I’m sorry, Higgy.” He held her hand, squeezing it.
Juliet felt her eyes burning and pressed her knuckles against her closed eyelids. She would not cry in front of Thomas Magnum. Not when he was the motive of those tears.
“You’re my best friend, Thomas.” She said, her eyes closed.
“You’re my best friend too, Higgy.”
“I don’t want that to change.”
“It won’t change.”
“Juliet, stop apologizing. C’mon. You did nothing wrong. Why don’t you come with me, and we can order some pizza and have lunch? And if you feel like it you can show me one of those boring English movies you’re always telling me about.”
That made Juliet laugh. She nodded and exited the car, following him inside the guest house.
“Lia didn’t deserve you.”
“You’re a good man, Thomas. I hope you never forget that. You deserve someone who truly loves you.”
“Thanks, Higgy. Ethan didn’t deserve you either. He never did.”
Juliet swallowed and smiled sadly at Thomas.
“Higgy, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Thomas approached her and brushed the tip of his fingers delicately across her face.
Juliet whispered. “You didn’t.”
He rested his hand on her shoulder, caressing it.
“I pushed you away. I was scared. Of what I feel for you. I don’t want to lose you.”
“I hurt you. You deserve better than this. Than me.”
“Thomas, you’re all I want.”
He glared at Juliet, his mouth agape.
Juliet inhaled deeply and continued to speak. “I know you feel the same for me.”
“Am I that obvious?” Thomas chuckled nervously.
“We both have been for a while.” She played with his hair, caressing a small curl.
Thomas looked away.
“Lia broke up with me because of you.” He blurted while cringing, scared of Juliet’s reaction.
She stared at him, shocked.
“She broke up with me because of you.”
Juliet remained motionless.
He looked down and muttered. “She thought we were sleeping together.”
When Juliet didn’t say anything, Thomas feared he had ruined everything.
“I don’t know what you expect me to say.” She paused for a moment. “What did you tell Lia?”
“Did she believe you?”
“No. Hence we’re here.”
“So, you think this is my fault? That you and Lia are no longer together?”
“What? That’s not what I said.”
“Why are you misinterpreting my words? I didn’t say that, Higgy.”
Juliet turned her back to Thomas. He rested his hands on his waist and looked down, shaking his head dejectedly.
“It’s not my fault, you know? That I fell in love with you.”
“It was not some decision I made. I didn’t have a chance to decide. I simple fell in love with you.”
Higgins felt suddenly lightheaded. She tried to speak but words wouldn’t come out.
“I can’t lose you.” She whispered.
“You won’t.” Thomas replied quietly.
“You don’t understand.” Juliet started pacing around, picking on her fingers anxiously. “Growing up, I didn’t have many friends. I’ve told you this before.”
“After Richard was gone, I was basically lonely. Robin was one of the few friends I had, and to be fair, the only person I could count on. Then I met you and the guys and Kumu…and I have a family now. All because of you, Thomas.”
She sat on one of the chairs near the entrance and crossed her legs, resting her clasped hands on her thigh.
“I know you’re scared. And I can’t blame you. After everything that happened to you…but what we have is special. What I feel for you…”
“But you’re my best friend. I don’t want that to change.”
Thomas’s eyes widened and he chuckled confusedly. “Why would that change? We’ll always be best friends, Higgy.”
She looked down and inhaled deeply. “If we decide to be more, no we won’t.”
“Juliet.” Thomas crossed the distance that separated them and crouched in front of her, hunching forward. He stroked Higgins’s hand, caressing her skin with his knuckles. She felt herself being soothed by his touch. “You’ll always be my best friend and I will always be yours. Nothing will ever come between us. You and I becoming more does not mean we stop being friends. We’re just adding another layer to our relationship. More depth.” He cupped her face, stroking her chin and lower lip with his thumb.
Juliet blinked unable to move under his ministrations.
“We already spend most of our time together and talk about everything. Imagine being able to kiss whenever we want, and to touch freely.” He dropped his hands and stood up, sitting next to Juliet.
Thomas was holding her gaze, pure adoration, and utter love in his eyes.
“C’mon. You’re gonna tell me you never thought how it’d feel to fall asleep in my arms?”
Juliet looked away, scrunching her brow.
“I have.” She retorted hesitantly.
Thomas’s expression lit up at her admission. He reached for her hand. Juliet’s face carried an inquisitive look.
“Why did you pull away last night?”
“I was afraid. And I didn’t want to ruin us. But I’m tired of running away from you. I belong with you only.”
“Thomas…” Juliet breathed.
“I’m sorry, Higgy.” He sighed.
Juliet pressed her hand against the side of his neck, brushing his caramel skin. Her gaze fell to his lips and her heartbeat rose frantically.
“Don’t apologize.” She kissed his neck and Thomas closed his eyes, sighing contentedly. She pressed a trail of soft pecks up his chin and cheek. He turned his head and fused their lips in a kiss. They groaned at the feeling. It was ecstatic being able to be with each other in all the ways they had longed for years.
They kept kissing for several minutes. Thomas held Juliet’s face, resting his forehead against hers.
Juliet smirked mischievously and got up from the chair. She stretched her arm out, offering her hand for Thomas to take. He rose to his feet and laced their fingers together. Juliet kissed him lovingly. He put his hands around her waist, holding her impossibly close to him.
They pulled apart when the need for oxygen became unbearable but remained in each other’s arms.
“Can I take you to dinner?” Thomas was beaming.
“Of course.” Juliet responded nervously. “I love you.” She added after a heartbeat.
Thomas tightened his hold on her.
“I love you too, Juliet.”
Her gaze turned serious and she pulled on his hand, walking towards the guest house staircase. Thomas lifted his brow and chuckled softly, following her.
He would always follow her.