Panel 1: Oh, now he's saying it! Although he hedges it as he's in the process of falling in love with her, not that he's already out to sea. However, Liz's reply is such a cliche. And again, how do we know how accurate it is? Okay, he's Native, and she's never been out with a Native guy before; do northerners view dating and romance differently? He's got the dashing cop thing going on, but then Warren is a dashing helicopter pilot, so that doesn't make Paul so different. If LJ had taken any time to establish this character and their relationship, we'd know what she was talking about. But once again, we're left to assume that if a Patterson says it, that makes it so.
Anyway, this is the third way he's phrased the same statement. We get it! Liz is a mantrap!
Meanwhile, the way they're posed makes it look like they're on the lam, or in some kind of physical danger.
Panel 2: Ah, that's a classic "Buh?" expression! Liz is pretty shrewd, assuming she already gave him some (chaste, no-tongue) lovin' before starting her confession.
Panel 3: I think there's symbolism in this panel. The road stretches out ahead of them, uphill, but right now they're sidelined.
Panel 4: "There's nothing between me and him; don't worry." That's what you're supposed to say, Liz...Also, it would help if you'd just called him "a guy I met at school," rather than giving him a name.
Panel 5: No, Paul, that would be figuratively. Picked up literally would mean Warren will throw her over his shoulder, caveman-style. As far as that goes, I wonder if that's what it'll come down to: Liz choosing the one who acts more alpha. Or less alpha. Whatever she bases her choices on.
Really, this whole thing seems like it's casting back to the forties and fifties, when women chose the man who loved them most, not the one they loved most.