In the beginning, Jack was sure Kim was trying to domesticate him. Possibly, it had to do with the fact that Marshall had already left her, and she didn't have a chance with him.
"I dunno. Its the 4th." Jack squinted hard. He hated to tell her it was his favorite day to get shitfaced and blow things up. Babies were not part of the package.
She already had the diaper bag ready for emergencies even if she said Grady was potty trained. It wasn't like they gave out certificates for that sort of thing.
"I can't do it." He shook his head.
"I want him with you. I just do." She was specific.
"Why is that? Really? Can't you think of somebody else?" He gave her a glare then as he stood there in her trailer house on the edge of town, not so far from where the meth lab blew up. She didn't really look like she belonged here with her long legs and her year around tan, but she dressed pretty much like a whore lately, so maybe she did. She'd been in a slump ever since Marshall left because he had decided Grady wasn't his.
"No, I don't trust anyone else." She had her hair up, like she was going somewhere.
"Well, you should not trust me. You really should because I'm not to be trusted." He was faking nice now. Just what had gotten into Kim?
They had met down at the local bar a couple of years ago, and she'd been seeing a friend of his from high school. But Taylor went off in the Marines and was killed, three days after he got to Afghanistan. She wasn't even from around here. She was from Texas or maybe Vegas. He'd heard a lot of her stories, and they kept changing, so really he didn't know her, exactly. And then she thought it might work out with him, but it didn't. He always claimed he knew she would run away with the truck driver, Marshall. And she did. They got married. Then came Grady and well, Marshall left. Said he wouldn't have anymore to do with her or the baby.
"I think it would be a really good idea if you stayed home." He told her. "Have a nice quiet time. There's the dog parade and the veterans reunion on the square. Just have a good time with Grady. All right?"
She shook her head, no. He saw a frown. "I really got go, Jack. I just do."
Jack looked at Grady, but she wouldn't. She was a little misty eyed, but she was too hard around the edges to cry.
"It'll be all right." He found himself holding her shoulders as if he meant to hold her back.
"No, you stay with Grady." She shook her head as if she had something on her mind for a long time to do.
"All right." Jack stepped back, got Grady things. "Well, come on." He motioned to the boy who just looked up at him with a grin. Jack wasn't going to carry him.
Kim gave Grady one last hug.
Jack just gritted. He hoped what the thought...wasn't true. He didn't like it when he felt things like this. He took Grady's hand. This might be the worst 4th ever.