The kitchen was a mess. Frosting was smeared on the wall, sprinkles littered the floor, and worst of all, Hartley was 99% sure that cake batter was in his hair.
All because Axel had challenged Mark to a bake-off.
~An hour earlier~
“What do you mean , I can’t make an edible cake?!?”
Axel’s enraged voice drew Hartley out of his room, abandoning his notebook. He descended the stairs quietly and peeked out into the living room. He saw Mark standing there, his back to Hartley, but he knew the Wizard was giving Axel one of his famous “back the fuck off” looks that every Rogue had experienced thus far.
“I didn’t say that. I said that you need to work on your skills,” Mark said quietly. Hartley backed up a bit. If Mark’s voice was low, shit was going down . Mark stepped forward. “You need to learn how to listen.”
Axel crossed his arms and pouted, much like a child. “I can bake just as good as you can! I’ll show you!”
Roy piped up from the armchair, startling Hartley. “If you’re challenging him to a bake off-”
Hartley, Roy, and Axel looked at Mark in surprise. He knew he was the best chef in the house, why would he even bother?
“Choose the pastry. We’ll get Lisa, Shawna, and… someone else to taste test.” Mark shrugged. “We need judges.”
Standing, Roy shut his sketchbook. “George?”
Hartley decided to come out of the shadows, moving to plop on the couch. “Not George. He’s the boring, straight one. Wish Mom and Dad were here.” He pulled out his phone and typed something up, then let it fall to his chest.
Everyone looked to him, then silently agreed. They all missed Len and Mick, as the pair had left on that weird mission that they apparently couldn’t talk about.
“What about my dad?” Axel asked. “Instead of Mick, how about James?”
“That would make him biased,” Roy pointed out. “He’d choose your cake no matter how shitty it tastes.” He dodged the rubber ball thrown at his head (Where did Axel even get that?) and huffed. “It’s true!”
Hartley rolled his eyes, propping his feet on the back of the couch. “Can we just get to it? I really want to livetweet this, it’s good material.”
Axel quickly looked something up on his phone. “All right, how about this?” He showed it to Mark, then read it aloud for the others. “Sprinkle filled cake! Made with any cake batter, and you cut out the inside for the sprinkles!” He grinned.
“Fine. If that’s what you want. Let’s go.” Mark walked to the kitchen, Axel, Hartley, and Roy quickly following. Mark pulled out the ingredients for his best cake, but blocked Axel from reaching them. “Get your own.” He ignored Axel’s protests, and watched him out of the corner of his eye as Axel grabbed stuff off the shelves.
Roy slid into the seat next to the wall, leaning back. He watched Hartley type away at his phone again. “Really? Why do you tweet everything? Do your followers know who we are?”
“Of course not,” Hartley answered as he posted the message. “I only ever refer to us as our Twitter handles, Mr. BlindArtistDude.” He took the seat next to Roy and pushed his phone over to him. “What color is my background?”
“Shut the fuck up! That’s not funny!” Roy said, glaring. “It’s gray!” He scoffed at Hartley’s laughs, catching something about “green”.
A loud clatter caused them both to look up. Axel had pulled a huge bowl out of the cabinets, not watching what he was doing and accidentally pulling out everything. Mark rushed forward and caught a glass bowl before it hit the floor.
“Watch what you’re doing,” he snarled before turning back to his own batter. No one noticed that Axel’s phone had gone off, likely from a tweet Hartley had just sent.
Axel stuck his tongue out at the older man and set his own bowl on the counter. “Fine. The contest has begun.”
“Oh, it already has,” Mark informed him. “You’re a bit behind.”
With a sneer, Axel flicked a bit (okay, maybe a blob) of butter at Mark. The butter smacked against the back of Mark’s head, sliding down his now greasy hair and onto his shirt. He jerked his chin up haughtily as Mark turned around.
Mark’s eye twitched angrily. “What did I just tell you?” His Southern accent became more prominent, his six-foot frame seeming bigger. He threw a bit of batter at Axel. “Watch. The fuck. Out.”
“Make me,” Axel challenged, leaning forward. “I’ll look out when we finish this.” He smirked and walked to his side of the kitchen.
Mark growled and beat the batter a bit too hard, spraying the stuff everywhere. He watched it fly in Hartley’s direction, but didn’t bother to tell the other about it. Little shit was too focused on his phone, why should Mark tell him about the splash of yellow now in Hartley’s hair? Noticing it was smooth, he poured it, but turned to watch Axel’s struggling. “I’d offer help, but you’re an asshole.”
“I got this,” Axel said as he tried to clean up the spilled flour. “I think.”
“You don’t got this,” Roy said from the corner. His shades were pushed up to rest on the top of his head, but his eyes were closed. “You never do.”
Axel rolled his eyes and pointed his spoon at Roy. “Shut up and mind your business, art boy.” He stuck the spoon back in the batter.
“I’m older than you!” Roy protested, sitting up. His glasses fell to rest awkwardly on his nose. “Don’t call me art boy!” He glared at Hartley when the other began laughing, then looked at his phone. Sighing, he replied to Hartley’s newest tweet, figuring it was the better choice.
Mark slid his cake pan into the oven. “You’re not done?” he asked, pulling out ingredients for frosting. “How could you not be done?”
“I feel as if I’ve made a mistake,” Axel said, staring at his own, unbaked creation. “That’s rare.”
“Damn right it is,” Hartley said. “You’re admitting you’re wrong. That’s new.” He typed quickly again, ducking to avoid the cake batter thrown at his face.
Apparently, while Axel was aiming his batter at Hartley, some of that batter had hit Mark in the process. It didn’t take long for a ball of frosting to collide with Axel’s face, and when he wiped it away, he saw a smug Mark in front of him. Roy and Hartely fled the room, but watched from the doorway.
“If you hadn’t thrown that batter, you wouldn’t’ve gotten hit. End of story.” Mark crossed his arms, leaning on the counter. He raised an eyebrow as he watched Axel’s seething rage.
“How about this?!?” Axel chucked the entire bowl of batter at Mark, spilling it’s contents over his shirt. He grabbed the sprinkles and prepared for a fight.
Mark growled and snatched up his bowl of frosting. “You asked for it.” He lobbed a scoop of it at Axel, who slid out of the way and sprayed sprinkles in his direction. The sprinkles stuck to the syrupy mess on Mark’s shirt, giving it a rainbow appearance. “Son of a bitch!”
The kitchen soon became a war zone, frosting, batter, sprinkles, and other ingredients being thrown from both sides. Axel’s face ended up ghostly white with flour, and somehow, Mark had managed to get even more sprinkles stuck to him. Both had eggs dripping down their shirts, and the walls were covered in various “weapons”. The only way the could stop was-
“What the hell is going on in here?” High heels clacked against the hardwood as Lisa and Shawna rounded the corner. “We go out shopping for a few hours, and this is what you do?” Lisa demanded, gesturing to the mess.
“I thought you followed me?” Hartley asked. “You replied to one of my tweets, you should have seen everything.”
Shawna set her bags down and walked over to him. “We tried to ignore it. I can’t believe you didn’t stop them.”
Roy shrugged, then sat on the back of the couch. “It was better to let them work it out.”
“You two go get cleaned up, then you fix the kitchen. Got it?” Lisa said, sounding like her brother. Despite being quite a bit shorter than Axel and Mark, she radiated authority, and both men slunk up to their separate rooms. She crossed her arms and spun around to face Hartley and Roy. “And you two need to learn to stop this from happening.” Glaring, Lisa helped Shawna gather their bags, and both women disappeared upstairs.
“That was close,” Roy breathed out. “She really is related to Mom.”
“Yep,” Hartley agreed. “Let’s hope she doesn’t go further than that.” He grabbed his phone and sent off on last tweet before flopping onto the couch to nap.