I stay with her another day at their request, as Lloyd cannot afford time from his job and they have no help. I stay, even though I know it’ll upset Royce’s plans.

I find that I don’t care. Vera needs me more and will always come first.

The day is spent cleaning her house and tending to mother and child when needed. Vera’s asleep most of the time. More than once I sneak into her room to watch over her. I even dare to caress her like I used to, once upon a time.

She wakes with a sleepy smile.