A/N - So I was holding off on posting this chapter until today. I figured we all might need some comfort and this might give you a little of that. Take care of yourselves and don't forget to check in with the people closest to you. S/O to the Queen of Comedy (Nicole) for inspiring Chocolate Boob.
ROUND 2 – DAY DRINKING
We're back in the Cupcake Battles' arena and the remaining three teams stand at the ready in their stations as Sam Evans strolls in through the glass double-doors to the show's action-packed theme music. He struts down the aisle as if it's his own personal catwalk, smoothing his hands along his shaggy blonde hair before shooting Mercedes and Artie with his finger-guns.
They look to each other confused and unamused while Sam then finishes his entrance with a twirl that leads into a not-so-smooth body roll. Despite that though he doesn't give up and proceeds to hump the air, missing every single beat while he does so.
"Gross," Santana scrunches her nose and tries to avert her eyes before she goes blind. Instead she catches Brittany staring at her, attempting to keep from laughing at Santana's obvious disgust. She feels the blood start to rush to her face upon being caught but then Kurt's whispering to her.
"And to think he was on Grooving with the Celebs," Kurt admonishes quietly, "I think even I might dance better than him."
Santana's eyes drift from Brittany to find Sugar egging Sam on as she pumps her fist. She can't decide if Sugar is genuinely into this method of torture or she's just messing with him. Either way, Santana reluctantly looks away to acknowledge Kurt's comment.
"I wouldn't say all that," Santana quips and Kurt sucks his teeth at her, "What? I've seen you dance after you've had two Shirley Temples. It ain't cute."
Kurt rolls his eyes, "First of all, I'm always cute."
"Yeah," Santana sputters out behind a laugh, "Sure."
"Secondly, you think you're a better dancer?" Kurt questions with a smirk, "All you're missing is a stripper pole."
"At least I'd get paid to dance," Santana shrugs, "You'd probably get paid to stop."
When the music cuts, Sam straightens his suit jacket and points to the camera, "Welcome back, Viewers! Who's ready for Round 2 of today's Cupcake Battle?"
The camera alternates between capturing the teams' reactions and all the teams clap and cheer with excitement upon finally getting to the challenge after the interruption that took place just before the cameras started to roll again.
It was then that everyone learned that Rachel Berry is not one to go gentle into that good night.
The uncharacteristically long break between rounds was due to Rachel rushing around the arena, trying to evade being escorted off the premises.
Rachel had broken through the doors and went around knocking over as many baking pan racks as she could all while belting out Hannah Montana's Nobody's Perfect in between giving Santana death glares.
Who knew someone so small could cause such a big scene?
The crew had scrambled to keep Rachel from coming at Santana, but the co-judge wasn't having it.
"Nah, let her through!" Santana called from over a crew member's shoulder. She tapped her chest with her hands and shot her arms out, "Try me, I light up! Come on!"
"Oh my God…" Kurt facepalmed, "How is this show not cancelled yet?"
The teams were a little afraid but the drama was so addicting, they couldn't stop watching.
Thankfully, the crew was able to wrangle Rachel to the ground before she caused anymore damage. She struggled like hell to break through until Finn came over to talk some sense into her. It seemed to work and she calmed down enough that the crew felt it was safe to let her up slowly.
Finn gave her a dopy smile before throwing her over his shoulder like a sack of full of broken dreams.
"Sorry about that," He said to everyone then gave her butt a pat, "She's super passionate."
As Finn carried her out, Rachel made her exit by singing ABBA's I Have a Dream.
It was quite the spectacle, but once she was safely removed the crew quickly reset the arena so that they could get back to filming.
The camera pans back to Sam, "Well, this round is sure to quench that thirst!"
"Did he really just…," Santana mumbles aloud looking as unimpressed as ever, "Who comes up with this crap?"
Kurt lifts his shoulder, "I thought it was quite…punny."
Santana gives him a look and says plainly, "I'm quitting."
"No you're not," Kurt chuckles and pokes at Santana's side, "You love me too much."
"No one said anything about love," Santana groans, batting away his hands.
Kurt tutted, "Last premiere party, you said it in front of everyone so I have witnesses."
"I said I appreciate your fabulousness. That's all."
Kurt just gives his co-judge an eye roll before they both turn to Sam as he approaches the panel.
"Cheerleading is thirsty work, isn't that right Coach?" Sam asks, trying to be conversational as he looks to Coach Sue Sylvester. He gives her a dorky grin but she just ignores him and continues to stare down the camera like the cameraman is attempting to infiltrate her mind.
Sam waits for a reaction before ultimately giving up. He looks to the audience, "Well, I'm sure it is! For our first round, we focused on good eats and now we're focusing on good drinks. Round 2 is all about Day Drinking!"
"Finally something I can get behind," Santana smirks.
Kurt tilts his head, "I don't think that's what it means. At least, I hope not? This is meant to be a family show…"
"The challenge for this round will be to create three cupcakes that are each based on a drink that gets you through the day. Hence, day drinking!" Sam explains carefully.
Santana frowns at the clarification, "Boo.."
Kurt nudges her side, "Shh."
Sam goes on with explaining, "So we're looking for cupcakes that are inspired by a drink that gets you up in the morning, a drink pushes you through those afternoon blues, and a drink to end the night with."
The camera pans to Team Batter Up Cupcakes where Brittany and Sugar exchange excited smiles as they bounce on their toes. They're buzzing with anticipation and Brittany's already running through various ideas at a mile a minute, her creative side ready to run wild.
Team Baking Dreams Come True looks equally thrilled with the new challenge and stares down their biggest competitors across from them. Blaine and Tina try their best to intimidate Brittany and Sugar – keyword try – but Team Batter Up Cupcakes don't look the least bit concerned.
Team AJs Bake Shop on the other hand look slightly worried as Mercedes and Artie start to brainstorm. With the rivalry going on between the other two teams and the dramatics that came from Rachel and Finn's kitchen during the first round, Team AJs Bake Shop has flown under the radar for the most part.
But aside from the cupcake Brittany and Sugar put up, Mercedes and Artie were the only other team that came close to a high level of praise. By high, we're talking about Santana labeling it as tasting just fine which isn't really that high of a critique when compared to the words said to Team Batter Up Cupcakes.
Brittany and Sugar aren't new to this whole competition thing and although Mercedes and Artie think they're being slick with the whole silent but deadly act, nothing gets past them. Old rivals or new ones, they're gonna take down anyone who stands in there way of that prize money!
"But wait, bakers, there is…a twist," Sam interrupts the teams as the surrounding walls illuminated in the usual pink neon lights shift to green, followed by a dramatic sound effect.
The camera zooms in on the far wall that begins to move. A special pantry slides forward from a hidden segment in the paneling. The shelves are stocked with various cans and bottles.
"Is that?" Sugar squints at the cabinet trying to distinguish the labels. Once she realizes, she looks to Brittany and asks, "What day is it again?"
"Turn Up Tuesday," Brittany responds with a devilish grin then it falls as she turns to Sugar, "Or maybe it's Thirsty Thursday? I don't really keep track of the days anymore."
They both giggle at each other with these great big grins while Sam continues.
"As a curveball ingredient, each team is required to use an item from this pantry in their creation!" Sam announces as he windmills his arm to point to the cabinet next to him. The camera pans along the items there as he continues to explain, "There are a variety of popular sodas as well as spirits that you can choose from, but at least one of these items must be included in your final product."
"Aren't the bakers meant to provide for a cheerleading benefit at the end of this?" Kurt whispers to Santana, "Isn't it a bit…inappropriate to include alcohol around minors?"
Santana ponders it before deciding she doesn't actually get paid enough to care about how ethical these challenges are, she's just here to serve looks and dish out realness. But she can tell Kurt is a little conflicted about this so she throws him a bone.
"Listen Miss Priss, no one is going to get buzzed off of a boozy cupcake except for maybe you."
Kurt gasps and begins to stammer out a reply, but Santana cuts him off.
"Besides, I doubt they're unfamiliar to the taste of it because: number one, they're high school seniors and I'm sure they've already turned to alcohol at least once. Number two, they have to deal with grandma down there as their coach."
"Watch it, you knock-off ." Sue quips without even glancing in Santana's direction.
"Knock-off? I'll show you knoc – "
"Sit down, Santana!" Kurt urges and tries to force her back, "You can't try to fight another guest judge, remember what happened last time?"
Santana's quick to bite her tongue, the producers don't necessarily like when she roughs up a guest judge but this lady is pushing it. She cuts her with one last glare before taking a settling breath and looking back to the remaining teams.
"Man your stations, bakers, and let the battle begin!" Sam pulls the pocket square from his chest and waves it like a flag girl yet again with such a flamboyant flare that even Kurt questions how straight he really is.
Brittany rushes to pull out the sketch pad beneath the counter and starts to scribble out a design she had been working on ever since the pantry rolled out.
"Alright so this is what I'm thinking…Dr Pepper, Piña Colada, and that spicy Mexican hot chocolate we like."
"In that order?" Sugar asks as she watches Brittany craft the designs with such focus.
Brittany nods resolutely without looking up from the sketchpad, "Yup, in that order."
Sugar glances over at the pantry to find Dr Pepper and Malibu then turns back to Brittany and asks, "You want to use more than one ingredient from the curveball pantry even though we don't need to?"
"Yup," Brittany says and pops the p for emphasis. She finally looks up at Sugar, "And I want you to create these cute fondant decorations for each. You saw what Tina did last round?"
"Yeah," Sugar scoffs and shoots Tina a glare from across the aisle. Tina looks back questioningly at first then tries to match it with her own scowl.
"You're going to show the judges how it's really done," Brittany smirks.
Sugar tears away from her staring match with Tina and begins to beam because her best friend is such a genius, "Hell yes, this is going to be so awesome!"
Brittany high fives Sugar, "Duh."
In Team AJs Bake Shop's station, Mercedes and Artie work together to try and come up with their three drinks. Ultimately they decide on a mocha Frappuccino, an Earl Grey infused with lemon, and a tequila sunrise. They're pretty confident with their choices and set off to begin making their cupcake batters while watching Team Baking Dreams Come True and Team Batter Up Cupcakes duke it out amongst themselves.
Mercedes and Artie figure that with such an intense rivalry, the other teams will be too busy bickering to notice them coming through for the win!
Over in the Team Baking Dreams Come True kitchen, Blaine is working quickly to draft a design but finds that Tina keeps getting distracted.
"Come on T, focus!" Blaine urges when he catches her staring across the aisle again, "Just ignore them."
"I can't!" Tina cries as she continues to glare back at Sugar, "I can feel her beady eyes burning holes into me. She's taunting me, Blaine, taunting me."
Blaine sighs at his friend's dramatics, "She's just trying to get in your head, you know how they work. They always do this. Remember when they told us they replaced all the sugar in the test kitchen with salt but they didn't actually do it and we wasted all that time recreating all of our batters because didn't check beforehand? It's just like that again, they're all talk."
Just then Sugar scribbles something on her sketchpad and shows off the message to Tina.
Tina gasps; it's like Sugar is in her head and she quickly turns to Blaine. She grabs him by the shoulder and the sudden movement makes him jolt forward with wide eyes.
"What are you doing?"
"Quick! Taste the sugar!" Tina urges.
Blaine groans and pries Tina's hand off of him, "We've been standing here the entire time, there's no way they could've switched – "
"JUST DO IT!"
Blaine sighs and goes to sprinkle a bit of sugar into the palm of his hand before bringing it up to his mouth. Tina watches him like a hawk for a reaction.
Blaine's facial expression goes from tired, to confused, to surprised.
"Yeah," Blaine grumbles and shoots Team Batter Up Cupcakes a glare.
Brittany and Sugar are doubled over as they laugh and laugh, it only makes Blaine and Tina even angrier.
"That's it," Blaine narrows his eyes, full of a new sense of determination, "Game on!"
Santana watches the whole exchange between the rivals with a proud smirk. Switching out the sugar for salt is a classic practical joke, but even she has no idea how Brittany and Sugar pulled that off. It must've been when the crew was resetting after Rachel's second outburst.
She glances over at the team but lingers a little longer on Brittany as she talks excitedly to Sugar. Deep down she knows she's being a little unprofessional here, but there's this aura about Brittany that Santana just can't resist.
It also doesn't help that the girl is super fine and talented as hell too!
"I'm really interested to see how Team AJs Bake Shop does this round," Kurt says to Santana, "They're kind of like the dark horse, the underdog, the sleeper, the– "
"Okay, I get it."
Kurt glances at Santana to find her staring at the blonde yet again. He shakes his head, "You really need to work on your subtly."
Santana looks to him and blinks, "What?"
"Your lesbian tendencies are showing," Kurt says knowingly with a wag of his finger towards her.
Santana quirks her brow and looks down at her chest before adjusting her boobs, "Better?"
Kurt laughs at his co-judge's ridiculousness, "Not what I meant, but sure."
"Alright judges," Sam announces as they come to a stop in front of Brittany and Sugar's station, "First stop, Team Batter Up Cupcakes! How are you ladies doing?"
"All good in the hood over here," Brittany says coolly with a thumbs up. She's leaning on a stand mixer while Sugar's off to the side rolling out fondant.
Santana smiles politely at them both while her hands stay folded in front of her. She looks like a meek little mouse but at the same time ready to knock you down a peg if you think you're flying too close to the sun. She totally nails the balance of looking adorable yet intimidating and she really is so, so attractive but Brittany can't stop staring her boobs.
She tries her hardest, she really does but they're right there staring at her! She can't remember if it was like that when Santana came around in Round 1, then again she was too busy with being blinded by Santana's gorgeous smile to notice anything else.
"You seem to be handling the pressure quite well," Kurt acknowledges and his soft voice manages to break Brittany out of her boob-daze long enough to focus on him, "What are your drinks of choice for this round's challenge?"
Brittany nods and looks down to taste the base frosting she has been working on before making an adjustment, "Well, my morning usually starts off with Dr Pepper so we're pretty lucky that the drink is included in the pantry. For the aftern – "
"Wait," Kurt pauses, "You start off your mornings with Dr Pepper?"
"How else are you meant to brush your teeth?" Brittany deadpans, "Or…do you not do that?"
Santana hides her laughter behind her hand while Sue stares at Brittany like she has two heads. Sam is looking somewhat convinced with Brittany's logic though while Kurt gawks at her.
"Of course I brush my teeth," Kurt scoffs then chooses to move on while Brittany starts on her next task, "And your choice for the afternoon?"
"Piña colada with Malibu from the pantry," Brittany answers and Kurt is surprised yet again.
"For the afternoon?" Kurt clarifies and looks to Santana for some kind of back up. When she doesn't give him anything, he turns back to Brittany, "I'm not following your decisions here. Can you explain?"
"It's 5 o'clock somewhere," Brittany replies easily as she tosses the Mexican chocolate into the double-boiler, "Everyone loves Piña Coladas."
"Getting caught in the rain!" Sugar sings from behind her.
Brittany wiggles her hips to the sound and smiles sweetly at Kurt, "You'd probably benefit from an afternoon Piña Colada. Although, I'm still not sure if the song is talking about an actual drink or if it's a euphemism…"
"I – " Kurt stammers and Santana takes that as her cue to cut in before he combusts.
"You're using two ingredients from the pantry," Santana points out as she takes a step closer to Brittany. There's this glimmer in her eye and this sexy little smile, "That's pretty bold of you."
"All or nothing," Brittany says confidently, "That's my motto."
"I like that," Santana chuckles, "You both showed off a lot of skill in the first round, how long have you been baking?"
Brittany ponders that a moment while she whisks through the melting chocolate and calls over her shoulder, "Hey Sug! When did I transfer to the C.I.A?"
Sugar hums as she comes up beside Brittany to steal some food coloring, "A couple years ago?"
Brittany nods and looks to Santana, "For a couple years then."
"What?" Kurt gasps, "How is that possible?"
Santana is equally surprised, "That's really impressive, I spent nearly ten years in school before I opened my own place. Where did you transfer from? It must be just as prestigious with the amount of skill you already possess."
"I mean, I guess?" Brittany says, "I transferred from MIT."
"Holy sh – " Santana is completely in awe, "I needz to hear this backstory."
"We really should move on to the other teams," Sam tries but Santana just waves him off.
"Shut it, Trouty!" Santana bites before looking back to Brittany, "Tell me more."
Brittany shrugs although her stomach can't stop flipping because Santana Lopez is interested in her backstory. Is she dreaming? She keeps her cool though and does as she's told.
"Well, I was working on my second Masters when I got into a little argument with someone from the Department of Chemistry over the quality of a cake they brought in for a staff luncheon," Brittany explains, "They said that they spent years perfecting the recipe and that it takes a certain kind of talent to bake. I said that it couldn't be that hard and here I am."
"You are just…," Santana pauses and tries to keep her smile from growing any wider, "You're full of surprises."
Brittany lifts her shoulder all nonchalant-like and she's too busy being wrapped up in another compliment that Santana has given her that she doesn't realize her chocolate is starting to bubble. She quickly turns the heat down before it burns, but not before a lone chocolate bubble bursts and splatters a couple droplets on Santana's dress.
All the cool she possessed goes right out the window as her face turns beet red.
"Oh my God," Brittany gasps and Sugar darts to look in her direction at the sound of such a distressed tone.
Santana looks down at the melted chocolate dotting her chest.
Kurt's jaw drops and he subtly moves behind Sam in preparation for the absolute fit Santana is about to throw. He's seen first hand how vicious she can be and he doubts even Brittany's pretty face will help her this time.
"Oh my God," Brittany repeats and grabs at a paper towel to wet before she's absent mindedly dabbing at Santana's chest, "I'm so sorry. I – I can pay for the dry cleaning bill or I can–"
Santana stills Brittany's trembling hands.
Kurt thinks this is it, this is the day Santana finally gets her ass fired and waits for Santana to yeet the poor girl across the room, but something strange happens instead.
Kurt thinks she might've hit a new level of pissed that he's yet to see during their many years of working together. He's actually scared for Brittany, but there's no way in Wal-Mart that he'll try to intervene now. There are just some things even he won't do.
Sugar stands back to watch, popping tiny marshmallows into her mouth like popcorn.
"It's fine, Brittany," Santana says through her smile then slowly let's Brittany's hand fall to the counter, "Although you might want to keep a better eye on your chocolate next time."
"Yeah sure," Brittany nods in a daze. Honestly, she'll agreeing to anything Santana says right now as long as she doesn't tear into her like she did with Rachel earlier.
Santana looks down at the cutting board next to where Brittany's hand rests now and recognizes the chocolate packaging, "Are you using Mexican chocolate?"
Brittany slowly blinks and looks down at the board and back up, "Uh… yeah. It's for our drink to end the night with. We're doing a Spicy Mexican hot chocolate."
"Hmm," Santana hums before swiping a piece of chocolate from the board, "You have quite the line up for us. Good luck to you both."
"Thanks," Brittany says before they all begin to walk away. She feels like she can finally breathe again and looks over her shoulder to Sugar and starts to mouth holy fuck did you see th –
"Oh and Brittany?" Santana calls out.
Brittany instantly swivels on her heels and stands at attention, "Yeah?"
"Keep an eye on your chocolate," She smirks as she pops in the piece she stole earlier before turning away.
Brittany thinks she actually might be drooling right now because woah, but it doesn't last long before Sugar is ruining her moment.
"Oh my God, Britt!" Sugar squeals as she starts slapping at Brittany's shoulder, "There is no denying it now. I'm not even going to say it because you and I and all of America knows what I'm thinking."
Brittany lets out a sigh and shakes her head, "I need a drink."
"Shots!" Sugar cheers. She grabs the bottle of Malibu from her station and pours a bit into a measuring cup and hands it to Brittany while Sugar pours some into a ramekin. They both knock back the shot and Brittany sends Sugar a knowing look.
"I'm beginning to see what you're talking about now…help."
"Yes!" Sugar beams, "Don't worry about a thing, I'm going to be the best wing-woman!"
"Let's just win this thing first before you go all Love Connection on me," Brittany chuckles, "I know how you like to spiral."
Sugar throws up her hands in defense as she walks back to her side of the station, "I just call it like I see it, Brittz, and I called it from the very beginning."
Brittany just keeps her head down and gets back to work, trying to keep thoughts of Santana to a minimum.
"I thought you were going to kill her," Kurt whispers as they leave Team Batter Up Cupcakes behind, "I thought you were going to finally catch a case and kill that poor girl, not to mention her ruining your dress."
"The girls did their job, what do you expect?" Santana replies easily, "Besides, it was an accident."
Santana is guided off to the side so that her stylist can work her magic and remove the stains, or at least position her hair so that it's a lot less noticeable. It's only a couple dots so it's really no big deal, but Kurt doesn't seem to want to drop it.
"An accident? You know who else had an accident? Marley Rose. In her pants. Because you threatened her with a knife."
"Calm down, it was an off-set spatula," Santana corrects, "There's no sharp edges there."
"It was completely unnecessary," Kurt admonishes.
"You know what else was unnecessary? Combining avocado and chocolate."
"It wasn't that bad, Santana. Don't be dramatic."
Santana rolls her eyes at him as her stylists does some finishing touches before Santana is given the okay to return to set. She gives Kurt a disgusted look, "Avocado has no place in this kitchen, damnit. I don't care what kind of food trend band wagon rolls up in here. It's a no for me."
Kurt shakes his head in disbelief but returns to the previous topic as his tone dips lower, "She practically had her hand on your boob, Santana. Brittany, not Marley."
"And you didn't rip it from her body…"
Because I'm a lesbian and I'm into it, is what Santana wants to say but she doesn't and honestly she doesn't know what stops her. She's always said what was on her mind, but now?
Santana glances over at the station they just left and catches Brittany with her head down in deep concentration. She smirks for a split second before turning a glare onto Kurt.
"I know what happened, Kurt, I was there. I don't need you doing a play-by-play for me."
Kurt looks at her quizzically, but the response seems to shut him up for the meantime. They go on to check in with the rest of the teams in silence.
After they make their rounds, the judges return to the panel and wait out the last few minutes. Although thus far Santana hasn't been able to keep her eyes from straying too far from Team Batter Up Cupcake's kitchen, she along with the other panel judges are unable to look away from Team AJs Bake Shop.
The pressure is definitely on as the team scrambles to frost their cupcakes, but it doesn't seem like there will be enough time for Mercedes and Artie to complete all three of them. You can start to see them beginning to lose focus as they keep checking the time, the seconds quickly disappearing until ultimately the buzzer sounds.
"Alright bakers, put down your utensils!" Sam calls out as he walks to the center of the arena, "This round is ovah."
The camera pans to each kitchen, capturing the bakers' relief – Sugar and Brittany hug it out while Blaine and Tina high five – but when it gets to Team AJs Bake Shop, Mercedes and Artie look completely defeated and devasted.
Only two out of the three cupcakes they planned have made it onto their plate.
"First up to the judging panel," Sam says while doing his James Earl Jones impression again, "Brittany and Sugar from Team Batter Up Cupcakes! Let's see what you've made."
Brittany and Sugar make the short walk over to the panel and hand out their cupcakes. They're aesthetically on point with Brittany's excellent piping and Sugar's fondant work rounding out the whole presentation, but they hope that their eccentric ways don't scare off the judges too much.
"Looks awesome," Sam compliments with a wide smile, "Please explain to the judges what you've created."
Brittany has been pretty cool-headed so far, but ever since the chocolate boob incident she's been thrown a little off her game. She sucks in a breath to calm her nerves before speaking.
"Hi again, judges! To start your morning off right, we've made a Dr Pepper cupcake inspired by my awesome dentist Dr. Pepper who taught me that teeth-brushing isn't only done at night."
"Oh my God…it was her dentist. I feel so stupid," Kurt sighs to himself.
Santana just chuckles, "As you should."
"We used Dr Pepper from the curveball pantry in the chocolate cupcake batter as well as in the cherry buttercream frosting. Sugar made the topper out of fondant," Brittany explained while the judges went in for their first taste.
Their expressions shifted to surprise at the sudden tingling sensations on their tongues.
"Oh! And we also garnished with popping candy to replicate the fizziness of the Dr Pepper," Brittany supplies and watches nervously for a positive reaction.
Santana is the first to speak up this time, "Can I just say this is probably one of the best soda-inspired cupcakes I've ever had."
Brittany's brows shoot up to her hairline while Sugar lets out a squeal.
"It's not just a chocolate cake with a splash of Dr Pepper, you can actually taste the soda in this and your use of the popping candy was again…sheer genius," Santana adds, "Great job."
Kurt reluctantly nods, "I love the frosting. It isn't too sweet and this fondant work is spectacular, I'm just not sold on your choice to start the day off with this kind of beverage."
"It was alright for me," Sue shrugs nonchalantly, "Next!"
Santana and Kurt scowl at her but move on to the next cupcake anyway.
"So to get through the afternoon blues, Sugar and I went with a Piña Colada cupcake for obvious reasons," Brittany begins to explain.
"Get litty!" Sugar whoops and knocks her first with Brittany's.
"There's pineapple juice and a little coconut cream in the cupcake batter and it's topped with a coconut rum buttercream then garnished with some toasted coconut flakes as well as another awesome fondant piece by Sugar," Brittany finishes while the judges taste their second cupcake, "We used Malibu from the curveball pantry in this recipe."
"Wow, you can really taste the rum here," Kurt comments but Brittany and Sugar can't tell whether or not that's a compliment.
"Be careful you don't get all white-girl wasted on me," Santana teases while she tastes the frosting and lets it coat her tongue. She gives a satisfied smile, "That's really good and I'm not even a big fan of Malibu. Might be just a touch too sweet for my tastes though. Malibu is so sugary as it is, you should've maybe cut back on adding any more sugar to your recipe."
Brittany's smile falters, "Understood."
"I really like the fruity flavors of the cake here," Kurt adds.
"You? Liking something fruity?" Santana's brows rise, "I'm shocked."
Kurt opts to ignore her and continues, "It's just the right amount of pineapple and coconut, I feel like I'm on some tropical beach somewhere. And the addition of the toasted coconut flakes was a great touch, it adds a nice texture to your cupcake."
"This one is better," Sue agrees and at second glance they find that she has somehow devoured the entire cupcake, "Although, I don't know how well it will go over with the parents if you're chosen to cater for the Cheerios benefit. You would have to come up with something different. Next!"
Brittany and Sugar feel like they've been dealt another blow and think that maybe they should've been a little more tame this round. The judges' responses are all so mixed, they don't know where they stand.
They remain positive though as the judges move on to their final cupcake.
"To end the night, we have a Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake with marshmallow frosting," Brittany says as the judges start to taste, "There isn't anything from the curveball pantry in this recipe, only the Mexican chocolate we found in the regular pantry."
Kurt looks like he's struggling with his watery eyes, "Is that…cayenne pepper?"
"It is," Brittany nods resolutely, "Hence the spicy."
"It's really…" Kurt starts to cough but Sue is quick to slap his back which makes him yelp in pain.
"I'm into this," Santana nods, barely batting an eye at Kurt's reaction, "Once again, you're showing off how well you balance out flavors and this marshmallow frosting... I'd eat it of off anything."
Brittany gulps at the way the word rolls off Santana's tongue. In an instant, Brittany's mindtakes her there. She closes her eyes tightly, willing the thoughts away with all her might because now is not the time for them.
"No hot chocolate should have cayenne pepper in it," Kurt replies once he's able to speak again, "Like why? I didn't get it."
"That's because you're a basic bitch," Santana eye-rolls but turns an encouraging smile onto Brittany and Sugar, "I liked this, it really took me back to my roots."
"I'm a big fan of cayenne pepper," Sue agrees, "Combine that with some lemon juice and sand and you've got yourself the perfect Sue Sylvester master cleanse."
Santana gives Sue a look, "That can't be healthy for you."
Sue doesn't answer though, just holds her head up high.
"Okay well, great job!" Sam commends, "Please return to your kitchen. The next team up: Blaine and Tina from Team Baking Dreams Come True.
"I'm a little worried," Sugar says once they return to their station. She takes another swig of rum straight from the bottle before passing it to Brittany, "Were we too much?"
Brittany shrugs and drinks from the bottle too, "If we did it any other way then we aren't being true to ourselves and that's the most important thing."
"True," Sugar nods, "I can't get a read on them. Their feedback was everywhere."
"We'll just have to wait. We've always been the oddballs in every competition but we still bring home a win," Brittany adds and looks to Sugar, "It won't be any different this time."
"Yeah! And Santana liked most of them and she's usually the hardest one to please so that has to count for something," Sugar wonders aloud, "Right?"
"One of the best soda-inspired cupcakes she's ever hand," Brittany reminds her, "We've got this, Sug."
That seems to ease Sugar's nerves and they stay huddled side by side like that, passing the bottle of rum back and forth between each other as the remaining teams are judged.
"Here you go, Kurt!" Santana teases as Blaine and Tina present them with a pumpkin spice latte-inspired cupcake that they've chosen to start their day with. She cuts through the cream cheese frosting with her fork, "This is right up your basic bitch alley."
"Shut up, Santana." Kurt groans and rolls his eyes before tasting the creation. He doesn't want to admit it aloud and land himself right at the butt of Santana's joke, but the cupcake is delicious.
Judging by Santana's facial expressions she thinks so too.
"I see you've taken my advice from Round 1 and stepped your game up," Santana says to Blaine in a tone that drips with condescension, "There's actually some flavor in here this time…even if you went with something so mainstream like a PSL. You did well, yay."
It was the most unenthusiastic, off-handed yay Blaine and Tina has ever heard and they aren't sure whether they should thank her for the compliment or be offended. Instead they just nod and wait for Kurt's critique.
"Finally something I'm familiar with," Kurt sighs through his pleased smile, "This is my favorite one so far. It's like biting into Autumn. All of your flavors are spot on and this cream cheese frosting complements it so perfectly."
Blaine and Tina share a surprised look that makes Brittany and Sugar want to gag. Sugar rolls her eyes so hard they almost stick while Brittany just wants to push one of them, most likely Tina since she's the closest. Those two are the biggest suck-ups ever and they only confirm it as they thank the judges for their wonderful feedback and move on to the next cupcake.
Surprisingly, Sue smiles.
It's kind of creepy, but it happens all because of theirMatcha-inspired cupcake which represents their midday beverage.
"I hate cupcakes, but this one might change my mind," Sues says after taking a bite.
Kurt tilts his head in confusion while Santana shoots Sue a look of disbelief.
"Wait so you hate cupcakes yet you're on a show based on cupcakes?" Kurt questions, "How does that work?"
"Talk to my lawyer," Sue answers shortly.
Kurt is taken aback and looks to Santana, "What?"
"I don't know," Santana shakes her head dismissively and gets back to judging the cupcake, "Once again, you've chosen another mainstream trend. Maybe if I was on My Weird Cravings and liked the taste of grass mixed with frosting and topped with dusting of seaweed, I wouldn't mind this."
Blaine and Tina cringe upon hearing Santana's remarks.
Brittany and Sugar both bust out laughing and it's so loud that the camera pans to them.
"You made…a cupcake…for a goat!" Brittany giggles between words. She's close to tears and Sugar's going red in the face.
"Way to go, losers!" Sugar adds as she tries to catch her breath.
"I – I'm so sorry, we-" Blaine began but Santana just held up here hand to stop him.
"Don't apologize. If you're going to bake something and present it to me, you better be pretty damn proud of it to the point where even if you don't get the response you're after you still think it's the best thing you've ever made," Santana tells him sternly, "Confidence is important in this industry. Grow a backbone and own it."
Blaine just gulps and steps back in line with Tina as the judge's move on to their final cupcake.
Again for Santana, it tastes somewhat above average and their high skill level is evident and they do all the right things but there's no risk taken.
She's bored, they're boring.
On the other hand, Kurt and even Sue are blown away by everything they've put forth so Santana is out numbered this time around.
Blaine and Tina look relieved when Sam dismisses them back to their station and they hold their heads high as they pass Brittany and Sugar. They don't say a word, just give their best attempt at a cocky grin before crossing the aisle to their kitchen.
The final team Sam calls up arrives to the judges' panel wielding only two of their three cupcakes.
"What's going on here?" Santana asks as she looks down at her plate.
"Our final cupcake didn't cook through completely…" Artie replies guiltily.
"Time management not a strong point for you, huh?" Santana comments the nods to the first cupcake, "Tell us what you've made then."
Mercedes takes over for Artie and goes on to explain the first cupcake, the coffee inspired cupcake to represent the start of their day. Presentation-wise, it's on point and when it comes to taste, they kill it!
Santana is actually surprised by how much she likes it, "The espresso is really pronounced here which is something bakers fall short on a lot, but you nailed this. Coffee and chocolate is kind of a weakness for me so I'm glad that this doesn't taste horrible."
"I agree," Kurt adds, "This is a very good take on what you were aiming for. Great job."
Their second cupcake receives similar praise; great flavor, beautiful presentation and fits with the theme.
Brittany would be a little worried if they hadn't only come up with two cupcakes.
"So which one of these cupcakes contains an ingredient from the curveball pantry?" Kurt asks once they finish tasting.
"Well," Artie starts nervously, "It was in our final cupcake which would've been our take on a tequila sunrise. It contained tequila."
"Obviously," Santana quips then she starts to frown, "It's really disappointing that you weren't able to finish on time. You could've had this challenge in the bag."
Brittany and Sugar share a look upon hearing those words; were they just saved by another team's missteps?
"Okay bakers, only two teams will be moving on to the final round. Do you think you've made the cut?" Sam asks as he stands next to the judge's panel, "This round was a little bit of a challenge for most of you but…Blaine and Tina…you've made it to Round 3!"
"Oh my God!" Tina squeals as she jumps into Blaine's arms.
"We made it!" Blaine cheers and they bounce around their kitchen. It's like every step they take is a jab at Brittany and Sugar.
This can't happen, they can't lose to them. Brittany crosses her fingers and her toes as she shuts her eyes tight and begins to wish and hope that Sam calls out their name next.
"The final team that will move on to Round 3…will be…Brittany and Sugar!" Sam announces and the lights dim over Mercedes and Artie, "Sorry Team AJs Bake Shop, your fight is over."
Brittany lets out a sigh of relief and pulls Sugar in for a hug, "That was too close."
"The judges agreed that you put up some tasty cupcakes," Sam goes on to explain to Mercedes and Artie, "But the fact that you didn't provide three cupcakes was unfortunately a critical blow in your case."
"Oh hell to the no," Mercedes snaps and points over to Brittany and Sugar, "They made only one cupcake in Round 1 while everyone else made two and they won the round! So we do the same and now we're getting cut? How is this fair? It doesn't make any sense."
"What is with everyone testing our decisions today?" Kurt grumbles.
Mercedes is still going, "All of our cupcakes fit the theme, meanwhile Brittany and Sugar just picked random-"
"Let me stop you right there," Santana stands up.
Brittany looks from Mercedes to Santana and prepares for the worst. She's got that look in her eyes again, similar to when she smacked Rachel down like the hand of God. There's this determination mixed with pure fury and Brittany knows she shouldn't be thinking about how good she looks up there, but it's impossible not to.
"Britt and Sugar put their personality into their work which is something I have not seen from any other team here today," Santana starts and Brittany instantly perks up upon hearing her nickname, "They didn't do anything by random. They put thought behind everything that they've done and they actually take risks. Sometimes it's a hit, sometimes it's a miss but at least they're swinging for the fences. Don't come at them just because you messed up."
Brittany can't help but smile at how highly Santana is speaking about them and the use of baseball references just makes her feel warm all over. Her heart thuds hard and her stomach fills with crazy butterflies again. She's overcome with this sudden urge to rush over and –
She stops herself from thinking such a thought. She doesn't even know the woman like that and it would be so out of line. But then when she glances up, she just barely catches Santana looking her way before she sets her gaze back on Mercedes. It's quick, too quick for Brittany to interpret. She just listens to whatever Santana says next.
Santana grits her jaw, "The challenge for Round 1 didn't specify the number of cupcakes required, everyone just assumed it meant two. Everyone except, Team Batter Up Cupcakes. This round specifically stated that you were to make three cupcakes. You made two, or do you need a recount? Can you even count? Should I break out the counting blocks and have you practice for a bit?"
Mercedes quiets although she looks like she is going to go off at any moment now.
Santana hopes she does.
"You also left out a curveball pantry ingredient," Kurt adds, "That's too many errors to overlook and that's why you're being sent home."
Mercedes and Artie swallow their pride and exit the arena without another word.
Santana takes the moment to finally sit back down, but not before glancing over at Brittany one last time. The blonde is looking at her like she has put every single star in the sky. Oddly enough, the look makes Santana blush and she has to look away quickly before the camera catches her.
What she doesn't evade is Kurt's quizzical eye and when Santana finally sees that she has been caught, she does her best to fake it until she makes.
"What?" She scoffs.
"I totally get it now," Kurt says as the dots all finally connect, "You like her."
"You do like her!" Kurt squeals, "I knew it, that's why you let her touch your boobs!"
"Boob," Santana corrects, "Singular and I didn't let her. She did that on her own."
"Don't start with me, Kurt," Santana snaps, "I'm still full of rage."
Kurt only smirks, "That's not all you're full of…"
"You're full of shit too."
Upon seeing the wide grin Kurt wears, Santana rolls her eyes, "You're really trying to get your scrawny ass kicked, aren't you?"
The camera drags up Sam's torso to settle in close as he makes the final announcement of the round, "Another team bites the dust here at the Cupcake Battles' arena! The two remaining teams that will battle it out in the final round are: Brittany and Sugar from Team Batter Up Cupcakes – "
The camera pans to Brittany and Sugar who are all kinds of intimidating. They both growl at the audience and flex their muscles, alternating from different poses, before they point over to Blaine and Tina and yell out, "We're going to break you in half like a pop tart!"
"Oh, that's violent…" Blaine frowns.
"And facing off with them will be Blaine and Tina from Team Baking Dreams Come True!" Sam adds as the camera points to the contestants.
They're remaining polite and do the whole smile and wave which surprises no one because they're so boring.
"Stay tuned to see who comes out on top for our third and final round in," Sam takes a long dramatic pause, "Cupcake Battles!"