There's just something about a woman in a pair of fuck-me boots. Karl turns his head just a little as he poses for one more picture with the group of girls dressed as Orion Cadets. Luck is in his favor and from the corner of his eye he can see Jen moving down the carpet and taking her own place in front of the camera. Damn, she looks good, pairing the thigh-high leather boots with a pair of trousers so tight they look painted on, and a space-y top that bares her shoulders to the night air. Karl smiles a little to himself as he politely nods to the girls and escapes their green clutches. She knows how good she looks, too. He can tell from the tilt of her chin and the set of her hips as she works the camera lens. She's on fire tonight.
Karl himself is feeling considerably less than on fire for this particular occasion. Sure, he's happy to be here, loves the chance to catch up with the cast and crew for the first time since the premiere hoopla ended, but to be honest he's still pretty worn out from filming Priest and looking forward to heading home for a little rest and relaxation with Natalie and the boys. He knows he looks reasonably sharp in his pinstriped suit, but he feels like the world can see the exhaustion in his face. Ah, the self-absorbed paranoia of actors. That's the downside they never tell you about when you sign up for the fun and adventure-long hours, painful stunts, and making sure your damned tie is straight.
Catching sight of Bruce as he heads toward the entrance to the Griffith Observatory, where this smash is being held, Karl is forced to recant his previous thought. If you were still (relatively) young and creating a name for yourself, you had to make sure your tie was straight. If you were, well, Bruce Greenwood, you wore your tie however you damn well pleased. Susan tweaked the askew fabric playfully as they stood together, obviously teasing him for his sloppy habits, but Bruce didn't take the bait, just smiled and looped a casual arm around her. It made Karl ache a little for Natalie; he wished he could persuade her to come out to more of these events, just to show her off a little and all, but he understood her desire for privacy and the importance of keeping life stable for the boys, especially when he was away filming for months at a time.
On the other hand, his sadly solo state did mean he had excellent leverage for convincing two certain someones that they really ought to feel sorry for him, and maybe make it up to him as much as humanly possible. Karl grins at the thought, snagging a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. Obviously, tonight was for following the straight and narrow path, doing the wave and chat and generally keeping things pleasant, but he can definitely come up with a few suggestions for later that would be way less camera-friendly. He sometimes wonders if the rest of the Star Trek cast knows about him and Bruce and Jennifer, or if their attempts at being discreet have actually succeeded. It's not like they get a lot of time to spend together anyway, with three busy actors' schedules to coordinate, but still, he doesn't like the idea of too much talk getting around. He guesses he has to trust that no one underestimates the power of keeping your mouth shut in Hollywood, where even the palm trees are probably bugged with recorders and telephoto lenses.
It's not that he feels like they should have to hide anything; all of them have pretty firm understandings with their respective spouses, or in Jen's case, boyfriend. Karl's agreement with Natalie has been a part of their lives for years, ever since he asked her whether she minded him taking off into the New Zealand backwoods with that pack of roving wildmen known as the Lord of the Rings cast. The first time he felt the pull towards someone on set, they had sat down for a long conversation on his next trip home and hashed out some ground rules. Sex was in, as long as she knew about it beforehand, and the kind of casual intimacy that seemed like a natural outgrowth of the familial atmosphere on set, but he didn't do big emotional connections with other people in that context. That part of his heart was all for Natalie and his boys. This attitude had served him well in his relationships ever since, giving him a way of working off tension and adrenaline without damaging the way he and she felt about each other.
Bruce, he knew, shared something similar with Susan. The big difference was that they both sought out other people from time to time. Karl had been a little astonished by Bruce's frankness on the subject, the casual way he dropped Susan's name into conversations when they were all laying naked together, panting in the afterglow. If Karl and Natalie's relationship was a candle they guarded between them, Bruce and Susan's was like one of those massive bonfires they liked to light on the beach behind their house, and invite all comers to enjoy. Their love seemed to expand the more they gave it away, leaving more for each other in its center. Karl admired them very much, for all that they approached life so differently to him, and he felt a little proud to be one of the people admitted into Bruce's trusted circle whenever they're sharing air space in LA.
Jennifer had been the truly unanticipated addition to their little crew. Who would have guessed that beneath that innocent expression and wholesome, corn fed smile lurked a killer poker player with a raunchy mouth and a dirty mind? It was amazing to Karl that they had connected at all, considering that Jen had only been on the Trek set for a couple of days shooting her scenes on the Kelvin. Despite the lack of overlap, she had struck up a conversation about music with Bruce at the craft services table, which had led to him inviting her for one of his legendary house parties that weekend. She said later that she almost hadn't gone, unsure of whether she would be welcome among the regular cast and crew who were already forging the deep friendships that come from working on such a great project together. But she was still smarting from the break-up of her engagement to Jesse, and decided what she really needed was a night off the couch, but away from the Hollywood Scene.
And so, they had all fetched up at the same place, at the same time, and one epic strip poker battle later, they found themselves slipping away from the rest of the party (and the atrocious combination of Quinto and Pine attempting "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" karaoke-style) to chat on one of the more secluded balconies. The conversation, as such slightly drunken things do, turned to relationships and the mindfuck they'd do on you. Bruce had kissed Jen softly as Karl watched, then more insistently as she responded to him. Karl had only watched them that first night, aware of his promises and checking his own desire to touch both of the gorgeous people laid out before him. He later wondered if that was kind of weird, that he had watched them fuck on a chaise lounge while mentally speed-dialing the love of his life on the other side of the planet to ask if he could join in the next round. But then he figured, whatever works to make the world go 'round.
Now they had a kind of standing arrangement for whenever they all found themselves in the same place at the same time, just like that first night. When Jen had started dating Amaury, Bruce and Karl had both wondered if it meant an end to their fun, but Jen had apparently laid down the law regarding what she could do with whom and when, and Amaury didn't seem to make any objections. Karl figures the guy is smart enough not to let such a keeper slip away from him. He knows this sort of thing has a shelf life, and sooner or later it will either get too difficult to manage or someone will reach the point where they're ready to move on. In the meantime, though, he intends to take advantage of every opportunity he has to be with them, enjoying the easy friendship that's developed alongside the wall-pounding sex.
He jumps a little, a hand along his back breaking into his drifting thoughts. Jen stands beside him, smiling as he tries to keep the rest of the champagne in his glass and not on his shirt. She looks even better up close, an appealing combination of the sexpot she shows to the camera these days and the slightly awkward Real Jen she shows to him and Bruce when they're alone together. She leans toward him and asks if he has plans for after the party, because Bruce and Susan are having people up to the house and there's probably going to be a fire on the beach. He smiles in answer and says he wouldn't miss it for the world.