Learning to Run Chapter 1


Jude was insane…and possibly angry about something.

“He’s glaring at me.” I hadn’t really tried to whisper, but I leaned closer to Cash, so it counted as being polite. “We’ve slept here for two nights. I want to come and I want to sleep with Bates again.”

Jude frowned deeper.

Yep, he’d heard.

But, considering he was only about five feet away and leaning against the front door, that probably couldn’t be helped.

So it wasn’t rude, just unavoidable.

“You talking about orgasms might be why he’s frowning.” Cash was trying to look serious but it wasn’t working. His eyes kept twinkling, and I could hear the way he wanted to laugh. “That kind of makes him weird.”

That wasn’t my fault.

“I’m not talking about anything kinky or private. Everybody orgasms. It’s like that Everybody Poops book. This isn’t rocket science.” My logic didn’t make Jude happy, but it didn’t make him any more frustrated, so I was counting it as a win of some sort. “We agreed to be here more. We did that.”

I’d thought they were frustrated about chores or making sure someone was here to feed Brady, but it wasn’t about anything practical at all. For some reason, Jude and Brady thought we were moving too fast and trusting too easily and smiling too much.

Unsurprisingly, the last one had come from Jude.

“I’m not sure we should’ve agreed with that.” Cash’s answer was aimed at me but he kept his eyes glued on Jude. “I think we lost ground there. Do you think Bates would let us move in with him?”

It wasn’t what I would’ve done first to handle the weird situation, but it might not have been a bad idea if we could work out some of the details.

“I don’t know if he has enough storage space for three adults.” The one-bedroom apartments didn’t have enough closet space. “Oh, and he’s probably going to say we have to do the spanking thing first before we could live with him.”

And who would feed Brady?

We hadn’t even done a chore chart either, so there were lots of things we needed to talk about first.

But in the last few days, we’d gone through limits lists and definitions and Cash had come to the realization that the world wouldn’t end if he saw my penis. We were making good progress on a lot of fronts.

My spanking was just around the corner as long as being stuck in the apartment didn’t throw up any more conversations we were supposed to have had. Those always popped up out of nowhere and I was kind of tired of them.

“Good point.” Cash nodded, still looking at Jude and the door. “We need to remember to bring clothes for tomorrow. I’m tired of doing the walk of shame in my pajamas. We’ve run into that same guy way too many times.”

He thought we were funny and was always polite, so I wasn’t sure what Cash was worried about. Besides, he looked good in his pajamas and there was no way I was the only person who’d noticed that.

“Maybe we should just bring a few clothes down there so we don’t have to worry about that? I could pick up some extra toothbrushes and stuff tomorrow.” That made Jude frown even deeper.
Something about good oral hygiene seemed to drive him crazy, but I had to take care of Cash like he took care of me so it was important.

“You’re not moving in with someone you’ve only been on one date with.” Jude was so worked up, if we’d been in a cartoon, steam would’ve been coming out of his ears.

Happy Doms really were much sexier.

“I think it’s been at least two.” Turning to Cash, I frowned. “Didn’t it count when we brought him a sub?”

Cash finally looked away from Jude. “I thought so. Oh, and what about when he bought us Chinese food? That counts too if we’re going by eating out in some way makes it a date.”

Worked for me.

“Three dates.” I tried to look happy as I pointed that out to Jude but smiling just made him more insane. “See? That’s much better.”

“You can’t move in with someone after one date and two takeout dinners.” Jude was smart for remembering our dates but just repeating what we’d already said didn’t make him right.

“One of those was lunch.” I thought being clear about that was important, but Jude just looked up at the sky and started mumbling about being saved. “And we’ve eaten regular meals at his place too. So that probably counts in some way.”

Maybe there was some conversion chart, like three snacks equaled one dinner?

Jude was still mumbling up at the ceiling, so he wasn’t in the right headspace to be productive. I couldn’t decide if he was talking to Jesus, Santa, or another god he hadn’t mentioned before, but I wasn’t sure anyone was going to help. Santa didn’t reward cranky people and I didn’t think Jesus would either.

“Do you think Jesus helps cranky people?” I didn’t bother trying to whisper, but I leaned closer to Cash again, so it still counted as being polite. “I’m not sure who he’s talking to.”

“He’s not going to get what he wants no matter who he’s talking to.” Cash’s grumbling tone made it feel like he was sliding more toward his Dom headspace.

Us being alone in our room at night never made him feel like a Dom, so I’d thought he just needed Bates around to find it. Clearly, that was an incorrect assumption. Getting pissed at Jude brought it out too.

Hmm, maybe that was why they always butted heads?

I knew better than to ask since Cash hadn’t actually come out about being a switch yet, but I put it on my mental let’s talk about this list…and asking if it was supposed to be a secret was going on that list too.

“Do you know what we’re waiting for?” Jude had said he wanted to talk and I thought we were waiting for Brady. But he wasn’t back from class yet, and Jude looked like he’d taken us hostage.

“How do you know if you’re a hostage?” Jude rolled his eyes, so I just ignored him and picked up my phone again as I talked to Cash. “I know we technically live here but does that matter?”
Would Bates know?

Before Cash could answer, Jude glared more intensely and huffed. “I’m not holding you hostage. We’re just waiting for someone, and if I walk away, you two rabbits will wander off.”

Okay, maybe, but that was also something a hostage-taker would say too.

Wait. Who was coming?

“Do hostage-takers usually invite guest speakers?” If we’d been waiting for Brady, Jude would’ve said that, right?

Cash was just down to sighing and glaring back at Jude, so I didn’t get much of a response from him. “No. But who knows at this point.”

No one knew.

That was the problem.

“Do we need anything else besides toothbrushes and a few changes of clothes?” I figured I might as well get a few things planned out if we were stuck for a while. “Oh, did you want to bake anything for Bates? We need to make a grocery list.”

“You’re baking for him?” For some reason, cake made Jude mad too. “This is ridiculous.”

Oh yeah.

Even Cash snorted, so he knew it was nuts too.

“Something chocolate and decadent. Bates has been good to us, so it’s time to thank him thoroughly.” Cash had a good idea because Bates liked chocolate, but it made Jude look like a really angry cartoon character.

Did he think baking was too personal?

Should he be eating anything Cash made then?

“I like thanking Bates.” Orally and otherwise. “Can I blow him while you feed him?”

Jude wasn’t giving us enough privacy for me to ask that without an audience but watching his face get red was kind of fun.

However, I was saved from watching his head explode by a knock at the door.

That would’ve been messy and it was my turn to vacuum again.

“Should we take bets about who’s going to be our hostage guest speaker?” I had no idea who it could be, but Cash was smart, so he’d probably already guessed.

And if I lost a blow job bet to him, I wouldn’t complain…so it’d be a win either way.

He didn’t have enough time to guess, though, because Jude whipped the door open like it was going to explode. “Thank you for coming.”


Brady’s mom.

“Hi, Brady’s mom.” She always smiled when I said it like that. But she’d been just Brady’s mom for so long that it was hard to remember she had a real name. Brady had just called her Mom for the first year we’d known him.

He’d forgotten she had a real name too.

“Hello, darlings.” She came in smiling and looking around like she was happy we remembered to keep the couch pillows looking nice. “It seems like you’re driving poor Jude crazy.”

Right to the point.

“Do you know why?” Her smile had me hoping that she did, but she could smile through anything. She even seemed to like going to Walmart with a thousand kids.

Oh, the kids.

She was happy because she was actually alone.

Cash laughed, probably realizing why she was happy too. “I think she does.”

She just smiled even wider and gave Jude a quick hug as she walked in. “I do. Let’s talk about that.”

Oh, there was Brady too.

As he came in behind her, Jude took a deep breath. “They kept accusing me of kidnapping them.”

“Well, actually it was holding us hostage, but I don’t know if there’s a difference.” As I shrugged, still not sure about the technical definitions, Brady sighed.

“Sorry, Daddy.” He kissed Jude’s cheek, knowing he could use his cheat way of making Jude less nuts. “Thank you for being so patient.”

Brady’s mom giggled, so she knew Brady was full of hot air too.

But it wouldn’t be polite to point that out, so we stayed quiet as she came over and made us move apart so she could sit between us on the couch. When she was all settled and holding our hands, and Brady was perched on Jude’s lap as the silly Dom pouted over something, she took a breath.

That wasn’t good.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. We’ve been polite and we’ve done our homework and our chores. I’ve even done Brady’s too because he tricked me and I forgot to tell Bates it happened again so he could protect me from Brady.” After being held hostage, I decided tossing Brady under the bus was fair.

Cash snickered as Brady huffed and looked offended. “Tattletale.”

Maybe, but he hadn’t been held hostage.

“It sounds like you’re very fond of Bates.” She smiled, looking back and forth between me and Cash. “Would he save you from being Bradied?”

“Yes.” Cash ignored Brady’s pout and nodded. “He’s very good at taking care of us.”

“There’s an us. In case you didn’t know.” I figured Brady had tattled, but I wasn’t sure until she nodded. “He decided me and Cash should date too so we’re all dating together.”

I wasn’t sure if she knew how fast he’d realized that, so I kept explaining.

“He’s smart too.” Hmm, I might’ve left out the important bits. “And not just because he knew we should date right away. He’s, like, math smart, not just people smart.”

Cash was nearly giggling as he leaned back against the couch and looked up at the ceiling. “What the genius over there is trying to say is that Bates is getting his master’s in mathematics and he’s actually really smart. Like genius smart.”

“Ah.” Smiling, Brady’s mom squeezed our hands and patted them on our knees like they were exclamation points. “Well, that does explain a lot.”

For some reason that made Cash snicker, but I nodded. “Yeah, smart people are weird, but we like his weird and he likes ours, so it’s working pretty well.”

“I’m so glad.” She might’ve been glad but she was looking at us like we’d done something sketchy and wasn’t sure how to say it without being rude. “But it seems like Brady and Jude are worried about how quickly he’s become important to you?”

That was probably an understatement.

Cash didn’t seem to trust me with this part because he jumped in and was finally helpful. “Yeah, he came up to talk to us last week and introduce himself and we just clicked. We’ve gone out a few times and he’s nice. Like the good kind of nice, not the creepy kind.”

Jude snorted, but she smiled like Cash was brilliant. “That’s wonderful. He sounds lovely. But do you know why the boys might have concerns?”

Cash looked like he was trying to find a polite way to answer her, but after being held hostage, I wasn’t in the mood to be nice.

So I was helpful instead.

“Jude might not like that me and Cash are dating the same guy.” There was kind of a long list of stuff he’d gotten worked up about, so I just told her all that I could think of. “Or that our guy is a Dom and he’s our Dom. Or that he’s going to spank me. I’m a sub, but not like Brady, I don’t need toys and to cause drama to get attention. I’m a grown-up sub so I can just ask for attention.”

I’d probably missed a few important parts but I remembered not to tell her that asking for attention usually involved blow jobs.

She probably knew that already…she had a million kids so sexy time couldn’t have been a mystery.

“And we’ve kind of already spent the night.” I shrugged when she frowned. “We knew his name first and he’s really good at cuddling and we haven’t had full sex yet. We’re getting to know each other and taking that slow.”

Technically, I hadn’t lied.

Cash was groaning, no help at all, and Brady and Jude were just sitting there with their eyes getting bigger, but Brady’s mom was back to smiling. “You’ve really thought about your relationship. I’m very proud of you.”

Well, it was good that somebody was.

“Would you like to meet him?” Once Cash stopped being dramatic, he had good ideas. “He’s downstairs studying and he wouldn’t mind. He’s been excited to meet you.”

Oh, that was perfect.

Even Brady groaned.

“That sounds lovely.” Beaming, she did the pat our knees thing again. “Let’s do that. I would love to meet your partner. It’s always nice when you find your Mr. Right early in life…and you’ve got two.”

I knew I liked her.

Want to read the rest?

“How do you know if you’re a hostage?”

His boys ask the most interesting questions, but Bates wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re fabulously curious and wonderfully unique, and they’re quickly becoming the center of his world even though they haven’t technically known each other very long. But there are definitely more important things than time when it comes to falling in love.

It isn’t his fault that life is weird and he has a growing list of questions, but thankfully, he has the best boyfriends he could’ve ever dreamed up because his list just keeps getting longer and longer. But Gareth knows questions are good and the answers are always fun, especially when some end with tails and playtime.

How Gareth’s questions led to his own switchy crisis, Cashel still can’t quite figure out, but it just seems to be what happens when he’s surrounded by crazy on all sides. And the insanity is contagious because Jude’s acting even stranger and now Brady is asking his own growing list of the weirdest questions ever.

When a nosy neighbor falls for two curious cuties, it will take some kinky exploration and a bit of hostage negotiations to bring this family together forever