1. Up and Coming

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"George!"

I'm jolted out of my daydream by the sharp and stern voice of my crusty science teacher calling my name. "Yeah?" I say, annoyed.

She scoffs. "Now that someone has decided to join us, I need to hand out the lists and information for next week's trip. As it's so long, y'all are going to need a lot. Since you clearly have nothing better to do, George, why don't you come up here and pass them out?"

Groaning internally, I drudge up to the front. I sloppily pass out the two page packets printed on green paper, not paying any notice to who I toss them to. However, my breath catches in my chest as I pass by my long time best friend and now crush - Clay.

His dirty blond hair fell onto his smiling face. We'd known each other for years - ever since middle school - but I only just now started having feelings for him. The worst part is that he's admitted he's straight and has had a girlfriend. Shaking off these thoughts, I hand him a packet and continue with the rest before returning to my seat.

My teacher's raspy voice rang out again. "As you will see, you're going to need a sleeping bag. We will stay in a camp building for the first night, but every night following will be spent in a tent. Please bring 5 changes of clothes. You may bring a bathing suit if you're going to swim..."

I spaced out, staring at Clay's face. He was doodling something in his notebook. We'd gone through everything we're bringing about 5 times before - nobody cared anymore. Finally, the bell rang, meaning it was time for lunch.

One of my friends, Bri, approached me as I was getting ready for lunch. "We're going to have lunch with Mrs. Blaire. Do you want to come?" she asked.

"Oh, um..." I looked over at Clay, who was walking away alone. "No thanks. Might be awkward."

"Okay. See you later, sis." She skipped away towards our homeroom.

I caught up to Clay, walking at his side. "Hey," he said, smiling.

"Hi," I responded. 

After a beat of awkward silence, he spoke up again. "Well, I'm going to McDonalds. Wanna come with?"

"Sure. I had nothing else to eat anyway." This was true - I didn't pack my lunch today, mostly because I woke up too late. Normally I'd just skip lunch for the day, but I'm always willing to eat.

We waltz out of the school and stroll down the street to the iconic golden arches. As we enter, I recognize a few people, albeit not many. One person in particular comes up and greets us.

"Oh, hi guys!" he said. 

"Hey, Nick," Clay grinned. Nick is one of my few straight guy friends, and when I have those, we're close. He's goofy, with messy dark blonde hair. He cracks lots of inappropriate jokes about Clay and I, although I appreciate them less now. At the moment, he was munching on some chicken nuggets.

Clay and I went up to order, and once the food was done, we sat down with Nick, chatting about the upcoming trip.

"So who's rooming with who? It's like, six to a room, but then three to a tent, or..?" he asked, sipping from a cup.

"I think so, yeah. I guess the three of us?" Clay suggested.

"Only if you two are fine with it," I sighed. I had already accepted that I'd probably have to room with some other random guys because they had us seperated by gender for obvious reasons.

"Why wouldn't we be? You're our friend," Nick said. Clay nodded.

"You know why," I giggled. "But if you're really okay with it, sure."

"Of course we're fine with it, silly," Nick said dismissively.

We talked some more before finishing up our unhealthy lunch and returning to the school building. The rest of the day went by quickly and soon, we were out for the weekend. I hopped off the bus and into my empty home, save for my tabby cat, who purred and walked up to me. "Baby," I cooed, rubbing his back. I dropped off my bag in the kitchen before heading upstairs for my room. Our townhouse was small, but thankfully, there were two bedrooms. I booted up my PC and opened Discord, checking out a few servers before inevitably being stuck on my class's server with nothing to do.

I had no new messages at the moment, so I decided just to play Minecraft. Then I got a notification from Discord that was a ping from my teacher. Everybody who was in the class server agreed she was cool, including myself; she rarely cared about language and was as good friends with students as a teacher could be without the FBI getting involved. So we invited her.

I looked at the message and was disappointed to learn that she was just reminding us about the trip next week. Sighing, I return my attention to Minecraft. I was in the mood for survival, but I didn't want to play my current world. I decided that I would just start a new one before thinking I might as well invite Clay and Nick. I opened our group chat and invited them to play.

GeorgeNotFound Today at 3:40 PM
u guys wanna start a survival world
on mc

After a while, Clay answered.

dream Today at 3:42 PM
sure
u hosting

GeorgeNotFound Today at 3:42 PM
alr
see you in a bit

I started the world and started the server, eagerly waiting for my crush- er, best friend- to join. 

Soon, the chat read, "Dream joined the game." Smiling, I started a Discord call. Clay picked up quickly, but it was ringing on Nick for a while, who strangely didn't pick up. I didn't think too much of it - he did say he took naps after school.

"What's up?" I ask.

"We need to get wood," he said simply. I made a noise of general agreement and started punching a tree. Once we had enough logs, I made a crafting bench and some sticks, using the crafting bench to make a pickaxe. We got enough stone for tools for both of us and a couple of furnaces before wandering off elsewhere.

"I wish we could find a cave. It's gonna be night soon and we don't have iron," Clay complained, sprinting around.

"We need food too."

"Then why don't you get food and I'll find a cave?" he suggested, breaking some tall grass.

"Alright." I went on a different path, towards a plains biome, where a group of about 6 cows were grazing. After commiting homicide on virtual animals and reuniting with Clay in a newly found cave, we looked at our situation.

"We're doing well for now. Both of us have iron stuff and a shield, and I need a bucket. There was a lava pool back that way."

"Nice. Um, how exactly does that help us?"

"Don't tell me you've never done the portal trick?" he asked, genuinely shocked. "I'll need to show you."

"Portal trick? What?" I giggled, punching his avatar. He punched me back before grabbing the remaining iron and crafting more tools and armor, leaving me with full iron besides a leather cap and him in completely full iron. He led me back to a lava lake in the plains biome where I was earlier before pulling out some cobblestone.

"Observe," he said simply. I watched in awe as Clay constructed a nether portal in under 10 seconds with just a lava lake and a bucket of water. He grabbed the remaining water and waited for it to drain.

"How'd you get so good at that?" I asked, impressed.

"Practice. I've tried speedrunning a few times and you kinda need to do that to save on time."

"Huh. Is it really that easy?"

"God no. Took me a while just to do it without covering up the lava pool. Anyway, let's go to the Nether!"

We played for a while more through an easy Nether and ended off with 8 blaze rods. Clay said he had to go, so we logged off for the day. I stared at the relaxing title screen, contemplating what to do.

Bored and a little breathless from playing 3 hours of minecraft with my crush, I did what everyone does.

Ctrl + Shift + N.

1423 Words

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