Published at 4th of May 2020 02:45:06 PM

Chapter 49
The school bell rang and hurriedly, the students packed their bags and went out of their classroom . Slowly, Alexander Lucero closed his books and notes and piled them up . He arranged the planets on the solar system model and put it back on the shelf . He sighed and smiled . It was noon and it was terribly hot . The sun shone brightly early that morning and it ablazed even more by noon . He wiped a sweat or two on his forehead and picked up his things .

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Like many young adults in Subangdaku, Alex spent his entire life in the district . He was born and raised in Subangdaku, and he knew the place like the back of his palm . He also spent his childhood at Subangdaku Elementary School and so when he finished college at the nearby city, went back to his beloved Alma mater to teach science to the young kids .

Like any child in Subangdaku, he also enjoyed every nook of the district . He used an old blue bicycle when going to and fro the school . After classes and on the way home, he went with his buddies to the grassland to catch spiders . They raised their captives until they became worthy for a derby . On weekends, they dipped on the cold waters of the nearby river, only the water was deeper and clearer back in his days .

Despite being an outgoing kid, Alex was a diligent student . He was the class valedictorian in his primary school and continued to receive honors in high school and college . He was a bright child but what he was most interested in was science . He enjoyed anything science - botany, zoology, astronomy, and other fields of study . He liked building stuffs and research things, and share his knowledge to other kids . He was not selfish, even to a point that he was willing to share his assignments and conduct exercises for his classmates . When he entered college, he did not hesitate to take up a degree in education .

Presently, Alex looked at his watch . It was five minutes past twelve . He placed his things inside his bag and went out of the classroom . He walked fast going to the school clinic . Nope, he was not sick . He would be seeing Grace, the school nurse, and join her for lunch .

The two had been dating for months already . Alex was twenty-nine, four years older than Grace . It was an instant attraction . Alex was having a really bad headache one particular morning and decided to visit the school clinic for a paracetamol . It had been weeks since Mrs . Berna, the previous nurse, retired and Alex was unaware that a new one had already reported for work . So when he opened the door and saw a young beautiful lady sitting by the reception desk, he was blown away . He was speechless for a while and feeling as if his headache had gone .

As always, Grace flashed a charming smile like she did to all visitors in the clinic . That smile and her sleepy eyes mesmerized him .

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"Hello, Sir! What can I do for you? " she asked . "By the way, I am Grace, the new school nurse . "

"Well . . . I'm Alex, the science teacher for the fifth and sixth graders," he stammered in response . "My head felt achy since this morning . "

"Oh, I see . Let me get you a pain reliever . "

"Well, thank you but seeing you for the first time relieved the pain quite a bit . "

Grace laughed at his words . Immediately, they hit off and Alex pursued her in the days to come . They ate together during lunch and even though Alex countlessly offered to take her home with his car, Grace refused him most of the time . She preferred riding her pink bicycle . On weekends, they saw each other and explored places outside of the district .

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Alex presently opened the clinic door and alas, Grace was waiting for him at her desk . She was all smiles upon seeing him .

"You're a little late," Grace teased him . "I'm starving already . "

"Well, my princess, I can't fly away from the classroom all the way here in the blink of an eye . "

Grace let out a hearty laugh and then gave Alex a smack on the lips . He smiled, feeling lucky to have a kind, loving, and beautiful special someone . They took out their lunchboxes and began eating their food while watching TV and chatting at the same time . Just then, a news flash interrupted the commercials .

They looked up the TV, intrigued at the breaking news . They listened intently and were suddenly taken aback . It was a brief news about the mayor's new pronouncement . It said that because of the new death caused about by the outbreak, and while waiting for breakthroughs to come, plans of converting Subangdaku Elementary School into an isolation camp would be pursued . Medical facilities and equipment would arrive in the campus by that afternoon in order to set up the isolation tents . Classss would be postponed beginning Friday and would resume only until further notice .

Grace's heart beat faster with the news . What they feared for the school had finally arrived .

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"Will you be alright?" Alex asked her .

"I think so," she whispered uncertainly .

"I can't help but worry about you . "

She nodded . She was also worried because she would become one of those in the frontlines . While the school remained as a quarantine area, the teachers would not be reporting for work temporarily . However, office staff would continue working, especially her as the school nurse . In the days to come, she would not only be tending to children but to any sick person who would be confined in the isolation camp . She would be continually exposed to the diseases, and she feared that, not only for herself but also to her loved ones .

"Are you not scared?" Alex asked her again .

"I am, but I have no other choice . I have to serve Subangdaku," she answered with a quiver in her voice .

Alex looked her in the eyes for a long time . He then got up, went to her, and hugged her tight . She felt his warmth and affection that a tear broke loose from her eyes .

"I won't leave you alone during this time," he said softly . "I will be around here with you . "

"Thank you, Alex . It means a lot to me . "

"I love you, Grace . I will go to hell and back just for you . "

They untwined and finished their lunch in silence . Outside, the whir of large wheels began approaching the school . . . .