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It had been young love.
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez and Xavier James Lopez — both fourth graders in the same class at Robb Elementary School — had shared notes, barbecues with their families and even bedtime “I love you” texts.
Now the two 10-year-olds will share a final resting place.
The families of both children, who were gunned down in their fourth grade classroom on May 24 along with 17 other students and two teachers, told ABC News that they have decided the pair should be buried next to one another, the final heartbreaking chapter in their innocent romance.
“I’m not ready,” Monica Gallegos said of saying goodbye to her daughter, Annabell, who will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
Annabell had lived with her mom, grandmother Lucy Gallegos, her two sisters and the family’s pet, a chihuahua named Bailey. Her twin sister had been being homeschooled and was spared the bloodshed, according to The New York Times.
The family sold hot dogs during the summer, off the banks of the Nueces and Frio rivers. Annabell ran the snow cone machine — her role in the family business.
Her cousin, Jackie Cazares, was also gunned down in the mass shooting, according to The Times.
“We are a very tight family,” Annabell’s great aunt Polly Flores told the news outlet last month. “It’s just devastating.”
Annabell, described in her obituary as a “sweet young girl” who loved the color blue, TikTok videos and spending time with her sisters, had told her mom about a boy she thought dressed and smelled "really nice” on the first day of fourth grade.
"She had this big old crush on him," Monica Gallegos told ABC News.
The pair was soon passing notes back and forth and their families started getting together for barbecues. Annabell even went to cheer Xavier on at his Little League games — while wearing a photo of him that his mother, Felicha Martinez, had given her around her neck.
Gallegos and Martinez were surprised to learn that the two fourth graders had started texting “I love you” to each other each night at bedtime, but they laughed it off.
“Me and Felicha would laugh like ‘How do y’all know about love?’” Gallegos said.
On the final day of their lives, Annabell and Xavier had posed together for a picture at the Uvalde elementary school, each smiling and holding their honor roll certificates — the first for Xavier, who beamed.
Xavier had been “full of life” and was often found telling jokes and dancing cumbia, his mother told The Washington Post last month.
“He was funny, never serious and his smile,” Martinez remembered. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”
He had loved soccer, baseball and art and had been eager to start at middle school next year.
“He loved any activity in which he could be creative and especially get to draw,” she said.
Xavier’s dreams were cut short on May 24 when an 18-year-old gunman stormed into the elementary school and opened fire on those inside.
Annabell and Xavier were two of 11 students in their class who had stayed at the school after the awards ceremony to watch a movie with their fourth-grade teacher Arnulfo Reyes.
Reyes — who had instructed the children to lay under the table and “act like they were asleep” as he had been trained — told “Good Morning America” the gunman soon burst in and opened fire.
"I prayed that I wouldn't hear none of my students talk," he said. "And I didn't hear talk for a while. But then, later on, he did shoot again. So, if he didn't get them the first time, he got them the second time."
All 11 students who had been in the classroom were killed. Reyes, who was shot in arm, back and lung, lay in the classroom for 77 minutes waiting for police to intervene as his students died around him.
"They're cowards," Reyes said now of the law enforcement officers. "They sit there and did nothing for our community. They took a long time to go in… I will never forgive them."
Those who knew Annabell and Xavier are comforted by the fact that, in the brief time they had on earth, they were able to find each other.
“He would make things for her, he would write notes for her,” Reyes said. “It brings a smile to your face just to think they really loved each other.”
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