“Are you sure you’re okay with me staying with you for a while?” the man asked as he shifted from foot to foot at the bottom of the steps.
“You are very welcome here. Where else are you going to go?” Mallory answered, holding open the front door. “Besides, there’s plenty of room here. Come on in.”
“Thank you.” He climbed the few steps and, tipping his head at Mallory as he passed her, took a step into the small foyer.
Mallory closed the door gently before moving around him. “While you’re here, feel free to make yourself at home. When Codee called telling me you need a place to stay for a few weeks, I was thrilled to help.” She led him into the living room. “What’s your name? Codee told me but I don’t think I heard it correctly.”
“Yup, that’s what she said. That’s an unusual name. Where –“
“My father had a thing for odd names,” he interrupted. “Call me Jag.”
“Okay, Jag. Would you like something to eat or drink before I show you your room?”
“No, thanks. I ate at the shelter before coming here. Codee was very kind.”
“Yes, she is.” Mallory pointed through a doorway. “Your room is this way.”
As Mallory led Jag down a long hallway, she pointed to the first door on the left. “That’s the bathroom. I usually use the master bathroom so you and Codee will pretty much have this one to yourselves.” She stopped at the next door. “And this will be your room. I want to apologize ahead of time for its condition. I kind of used it for storage, but the bed is comfortable and I put fresh sheets on it this morning.”
“It sounds great.” Jag sighed. “Just being off the street is enough. I don’t need any fancy rooms.”
Mallory opened the door and motioned for Jag to enter first. “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Jag’s eyes wandered around the room and he let out a soft whistle. “This is for me?”
Mallory nodded towards the side wall. “Yes. Sorry for the boxes. I tried to keep them to that one wall so you would have plenty of room to get around. As soon as I can, I’ll move them to another area although I’m not sure where yet. They contain-“
“It doesn’t matter,” Jag cut her off. “They don’t bother me. This bed is all I need.”
Mallory frowned, irritated at being interrupted again. “Well, maybe. But it bothers me. You shouldn’t have to deal with it.” She noticed he was still standing just inside the doorway. “Please, make yourself comfortable. There’s a table by the window where you can set your backpack. And there are towels in the bathroom for you to freshen up. I’ll be in the kitchen. You might not be hungry but I am. Join me whenever you’re ready. ” Mallory took one more look at the stacks of boxes, and then turned to go. But before she went through the doorway, she caught a glimpse of Jag dropping his dirty backpack on the freshly cleaned carpet as he headed for the bed.
“So much for following directions,” she mumbled. “But maybe he’s just tired, poor guy.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.