Containing a dog and motherly-daughterly discussions, but skipping dinner and dessert.

Lyssa parked her Ford Taurus in the driveway (she only drove domestic) and leaned her head briefly on the steering wheel. It wasn't that the day had gone badly, she just didn't know how well the evening would go. Lyssa was taking her daughter out to dinner. Since Hannah had moved out, Lyssa tried to maintain regular contact, but it seemed to be getting harder every week. Hannah was going through what could only be described as an exaggerated rebellious phase.

On the whole, life was great, but Hannah was a problem. Lyssa tried to be the kind of parent she would have liked to have as a kid, ordering Hannah around as little as possible, and always explaining everything to her instead. Now here was the daughter of her flesh, her single constant companion of the last eighteen years, rebelling against her as if she had been an authoritarian tyrant, refusing to go to college, moving out and taking a menial job as a secretary. Lyssa suspected Hannah was punishing her for something, but for the life of her she couldn't figure out what. Of course, it was simply time for Hannah to go. Lyssa realized that, she had always tried to keep it in mind, she didn't want to cling. She could be philosophical about it.

Lyssa was very glad she had her work.

She was also glad she had Hades, who came rushing at her, panting and wagging his tail wildly as soon as she entered the house. Hades was a big black beast Lyssa picked up as a puppy one Sunday at the Saturday Market. (Oregonians are too iconoclastic to adhere to anything as mundane as days of the week.) He looked mostly Lab, but the straight, pointy ears indicated the addition of something along the lines of German Shepherd.

"So Hades, have a good day chasing away potential robbers and rapists?" Lyssa asked, scratching him behind the ears with one hand and pushing strands of discreetly greying hair back with the other. Faded, unruly wisps were always escaping the bun at the back of her head, no matter how tight she tried to make it.

Hades followed her faithfully to her bedroom at the back of the house, depositing himself at the door, his tongue hanging out and his tail pounding the floor, watching her as she changed her cotton blouse for a simple silk one. Her wish was his command. Of course it would be unfair to compare dogs and daughters, but dogs are definitely the more grateful of the two.

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