Greg had been certain that taking the decision to move in together was the hard part. From an emotional stand point this was certainly true. But after that had come the realization that Molly’s sofa was just too big, and Greg’s entirely inappropriate for what Molly called “a grown-up living situation”.
“What’s wrong with it?” She’d never complained before.
“The upholstery is at least 30 years old.”
“So we get a slipcover. I have fond memories of that sofa.” Memories he’d hoped to recreate in their new home.
“Yes, I know. I suspect many, many people have similar memories of that sofa.” She wrinkled her nose in distaste.
“So I’ll have it cleaned.”
“No. You will have it humanely destroyed. I will not live in the same space as that monstrosity.”
So it was that on a lovely spring Saturday, he and Molly were sofa shopping. Here again, he’d been guilty of hasty assumptions. How hard could it be, picking a sofa? Something dark, with comfy cushions and broad arms for resting a beer on while he watched the match. He’d figured an hour, from start to finish.
Molly, however, brought her own set of assumptions. Also swatches from the curtains she was making, and a tape measure. Greg wasn’t really sure why she’d bothered with that, because everything at the first shop had been ruled out before the question of ‘will it fit’ even came up.
“How about this one?” He stood behind a high backed model, with wide wood arms and tartan cushions in a deep red.
“Well-” She picked up the dangling set of fabric samples, holding up her scrap to check how the colors blended. “I suppose this paisley print would work.” She stroked a hand over the nap, then shook her head. “Oh, no, this would never work. Here, feel.” She held it out to him. “This will pick up cat hair worse than your trousers.”
“Right.” He sighed, moved out into the aisle to continue the quest. Molly wandered in the other direction. The canned music switched from Billy Joel to Dusty Springfield, and he shook his head. At least it wasn’t the classical nonsense the last place had been playing.
“Greg?” Molly called him over to examine her newest find. Purple? She wanted a purple sofa?
“A purple sofa?”
“Isn’t it wonderful? Although it’s really more of a love-seat.” Was this woman gushing over purple furniture his practical Molly? The woman who pragmatically cut up dead people for a living?
“It’s certainly purple.” But he looked again, taking in the minimal lines. Box cushions, arms that swept in a clean curve to the straight back. No squashy backrest, just padding firm enough to support a tired back. Cotton fabric, easy to keep clean and somewhat hair free. Molly handed him the curtain swatch and took out her tape measure. While she was checking the measurements against the dimensions of their new sitting room, Greg hummed thoughtfully and picked up the cluster of fabric options. Maybe some nice throw cushions in jewel tones. The music had changed again, something familiar and syrupy pouring out of the speakers. He absently tried to place it while he envisioned the sofa, the curtains, which pillows would be best. Molly had finished measuring the love-seat, and moved to look at the matching arm chair.
I know just how to fake it, and I know just how to scheme,
I know just when to face the truth, and I know just when to dream.
The song continued, and he remembered it now.
I know just where to touch you, and I know just what to prove,
I know when to pull you closer and I know when to let you loose.
Yes, he thought this subtle stripe would go nicely with her curtains and with the sofa. He turned to show it to her, only then realizing that he was singing along. Quietly, but not unnoticeable. He tuned back in, letting his voice taper off as he realized exactly what was playing. Oh, God. He’d been singing along to-
“Air Supply?” Molly gaped at him.
He grimaced sheepishly, ducked his head. He really couldn’t resent her incredulity. Or the giggles that spilled from her lips.
“Not that it wasn’t lovely, Greg, but really. Air Supply?” She reached out a hand, stroked her thumb over his knuckles when he took it.
“I don’t suppose there’s any use asking you to keep your mouth shut about this?” His life at work would be absolute hell.
“Nope. God, wait until Sally hears!”
“I’ll let you have the purple sofa.”
“You were going to do that anyway. Show me what you’ve picked for pillows.” She neatly ended the debate, and his fate appeared to be sealed.
At least, until a week or so after they’d moved into the new flat. They’d tag-teamed the painting and organizing, working together when their time off overlapped. But that was done now, the furniture delivered while he’d been at court and counting the hours until he could be home. She’d messaged him a picture of the coffee table, complete with a pillar candle and waiting dishes.
Pick up something suitable. XX -Molly
He looked at the image again; plates and pilsners. Pizza then, since they already had beer.
The shower was running when he arrived home and tucked the pizza into the already warm oven. The water shut off as he poured beers, lit the candle, and added napkins to the set up. Molly, damp and flushed from the shower, was not to be missed so he headed down the hall. He was surprised to hear music, and further surprised to see Molly dancing across the bedroom floor in his bathrobe. Toby was an indifferent audience as she shook her hips and sang into a hairbrush.
You’re a teaser, you turn them on.
Leave them burning, and then you’re gone.
Looking out for another, anyone will do.
You’re in the mood for a dance.
Her voice broke off in a strangled shriek when she spun to the mirror and caught sight of his reflection.
“Oh, God, Greg! I’ve told you, don’t creep up on me!”
He grinned. “I expected you to hear me come in.”
Her mouth opened in surprise and mortification, and she lunged to turn off the docked i-pod.
“Don’t stop on my account. I was enjoying the show. Much better than Meryl’s version, you ask me.”
“You’ve seen it? How have you even seen it?” Molly’s embarrassment vanished in confusion at his tacit admission.
“Lost a bet with John.” He snapped his fingers, and announced brightly, “Hey, you could do it again and I’ll record it on my phone. I bet you’d get millions of you-tube hits.”
“I’ll show you millions of hits.” Molly scooped a pillow from their bed and bashed him in the shoulder, struggling to maintain an outraged expression and finally dissolving into laughter. Greg prudently wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.
“Ah, my Molly. You never fail to surprise me.”
“I’m starving. You’re going to tell everyone about this, aren’t you?”
He gave her a squeeze. “Pizza’s in the oven. And yes. Absolutely everyone. Unless.”
She peeked up at him, face still a bit pink. “Unless?”
“Mutually assured destruction? I won’t tell about ABBA, and you don’t mention Air Supply.”
The deal was sealed with a kiss, which led to several more kisses, and pizza on the new sofa, and a fresh set of memories to break it in.