The effort it takes me to push past the hurt is almost too much, but I do it – for Vera. I can see in her eyes how much it pains her to see me suffer.

How much she still loves me, as I do her.

How excited she is about the prospect of becoming a mother.

That’s a dream we’ve always shared – children. And now she will have them.

With Lloyd.

Taking a deep breath, I force a smile on my face. “Congratulations, Vera.”

I rise to hug her. Her arms wrap around me as she sobs quietly.