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The Secret Life of Couches

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Just because he understood why they needed to do it, didn't mean he had to like it. Yeah, fine, the happy ending for the story that had been in and out of the gossip mags for a year or so—open marriage, relationships on both sides, divorce, suddenly living with one foot in Los Angeles and one in New Zealand—was "Chris and Karl open up their new home exclusively to In Style" because in America of course all happy endings include showing off the shit you bought.

And yeah, Chris actually had acted as his own decorator, and as he gives the photog and the writer the grand tour he yammers merrily away about mid-century modern this and authentic Swedish that while pointing to the sideboard that Karl keeps thinking is from Ikea. Karl's opinion is that if he never has to look at another swatch again he'll be a happy man.

The showpiece of the living room is a very large fireplace—a real one, none of this gas bullshit.  Its mantle has the same clean modern lines as the rest of the house, but its dimensions are downright medieval.  There’s even a spit on which they once roasted a leg of lamb, Chris teasing Karl the entire time about being some kind of cave man.  Mostly, though, they use it to roast marshmallows with the kids and sometimes pop corn. 

“Can we get a snap of you both on the couch?” the writer asks and Chris says no, because they don't do that kind of arms-around-each-other-on-the-cover bullshit; that's private. They'll go down red carpets together sometimes, maybe holding hands, maybe a hand on the small of the back, but they won't pose together. So she recovers quickly and asks if they'll both pose on that oh-so-modernist white sofa, the one that usually has a pretty multicolored throw over it so the kids don't have to worry about making a mess.

Ostensibly the throw went the way of most of their personal clutter, removed by the magazine’s house dresser (!) to better show off the furniture and make way for a lot of flowers and bowls of fruit. Actually, the throw was in the laundry at the moment, because Chris and Karl had fucked on the couch a couple of hours before the magazine folks arrived. Chris had lit the fire so the hearth would be a little ashy and look “lived-in,” and then they sat there staring into the flames and feeling sentimental, not to mention that the thing generated a lot of heat, and—look, now that they live together fucking just happens wherever they are.  It’s a thing.  Besides, the couch is a lot more comfortable than it looks.

So of course Chris says "sure, we'll sit on the couch" and does, and while he tries to put on his seriously-I'm-very-intelligent face, he keeps grinning like a goddamned lunatic because isn't it funny. When it's his turn Karl is mostly trying not to blush, though the reporter then asks about the tattoo on his finger, and he says what he always says: he still loves her, she's the mother of his children, adult relationships are complicated, and it's a little extreme to erase her from his life with a laser.

Then the reporter asks if he has one for Chris, which gets Chris giggling because he'd seen it, kissed it just a few hours ago. The reporter raises her eyebrows and says that it must be in an undisclosed location.

Karl just smiles, and blushes in spite of himself.