Chapter 1: he's a smart'n
Woody laid back on a large rock, scratching a sleeping Bullseye behind the ears and watching Jessie draw shapes in the dirt with a stick. Andy had taken the three of them out to the backyard to play rodeo, but left them behind in excitement when his grandma came over for dinner. They stayed in the yard, waiting for Andy to realize where they were and come get them.
“We could sneak back inside if you want,” the cowboy had suggested.
Jessie shook her head no. “The family’s probably downstairs eating. Besides, Bullseye and I haven’t seen this much sun in years. I wanna enjoy it.” Woody couldn’t argue with that, so they’d spent the last almost hour talking and playing games. But now, he and Jessie were quietly watching the sun set while Bullseye slept.
Woody marveled at how close he’d already become to both of them, despite having known them for only a couple of weeks. Maybe it was just because they were all from the same set of toys, but he didn’t feel like that was enough to explain it. While their relationship started off a little rocky, he already had no trouble thinking of Jessie as not just his sister, like her character was meant to be, but as one of his best friends. And Bullseye’s playful and sweet nature had made it easy for him to find a place in the sheriff’s heart.
A question formed in Woody’s mind as he thought about the tired little horse sleeping under his arm. He was surprised he hadn’t thought of it before now.
“Hey Jess,” he asked, breaking the silence that had fallen over them for the last couple of minutes, “do you know if Bullseye had an owner? Before Al?”
Jessie turned toward him, her smile now touched with a little sadness. “I’m not sure. Al got him not too long after he got me. I remember overhearing Al telling somebody that he got Bullseye and some of the other stuff in his collection from something called an estate sale.” She sighed and ran her hand over the horse’s felt mane. “I think that means the person who owned him died, and all their stuff was sold.”
Woody’s eyes widened. “That’s awful.” Without thinking, he pulled Bullseye closer to himself. The horse stirred, but didn’t wake up.
“Yeah,” the cowgirl agreed. “The poor boy’s been through a lot. He hated being in storage as much as I did. Don’t know what I would’ve done without him though.”
”Well, I’m glad you’re both here now,” Woody said, smiling.
The back door opened before Jessie could respond, and Andy scooped the three of them up with enthusiasm. “Hey Grandma, look at my new cowgirl and horse!” he said, running back into the house to show off his toys.
Chapter 2: the beginning of the end
The routine had remained virtually the same since the first night Bo spent in the Davis household. Once Molly was in bed and ready to fall asleep, Mom would give her a kiss, turn on Bo’s lamp, say goodnight, and turn off the bedroom light before closing the door. Every once in a while, Mom would forgot to turn the lamp on, and Molly would quickly remind her.
Except tonight, Mrs. Davis had forgotten to turn on the lamp, and her daughter had said nothing.
Bo watched the little girl sleep peacefully in the dark for the first time. Her mind was occupied with fears that she didn’t like to think about, but were getting harder to ignore as Molly grew. The girl didn’t give the porcelain doll or her sheep much attention anymore like she used to. There had been talk of redecorating Molly’s room. And now it looked like she may not need Bo’s lamp to help her sleep anymore. The shepherdess tried to reassure herself that there was nothing to worry about yet.
But the next night, Molly asked her mom to leave the lamp turned off, and she never used it for a nightlight again. It was then that Bo knew for certain that her days in Molly’s room were numbered.
She wondered if she should talk to Woody about it. She wanted to. She wanted to cry in his arms and tell him how much she dreaded having to say goodbye to him. But it would only make him upset, and what good would that do? Whatever time they had left together, she wanted it to be happy. Even more so, she wanted him to be happy, because she knew that when it happened, he wouldn’t be. So she decided not to tell him.
“Bo, are you alright?” he asked her one night while Andy and Molly were away at their grandparent’s. He was sitting on and against her lamp and holding her in his lap. “It seems like something’s been bothering you.”
She smiled at him. “I’m fine, honey,” she answered. “The girls have just been getting into a lot of trouble lately is all.”
Chapter 3: sweetest space toy
Buzz couldn’t sleep.
It was normal for him to have trouble falling asleep in the toy box, as it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable place to be. But tonight he’d been up for what felt like hours, processing everything that had happened that day. Finally making it to Al’s Toy Barn, his encounter with the other Buzz, almost losing his best friend to a toy museum in Tokyo, and rescuing Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye from the airport. It was hard to believe it all happened in the same day.
Buzz stared up at the inside of the toy box lid, thinking. He still couldn’t believe Woody had actually wanted to go to Japan. He knew Woody could be selfish and childish at times, but he never would have thought the cowboy would be willing to leave Andy, who still very much loved and needed him. Not to mention, he was willing to leave all of his friends behind. To leave him behind. In the end, Woody had made the right decision, and for that Buzz was thankful, but the fact that he almost didn’t still bothered him. Maybe, he thought, that was a conversation he and Woody should have tomorrow. At the moment, Andy had the cowboy tucked in his arms as he slept.
The sound of movement brought the space ranger out of his thoughts. He would’ve dismissed it as another toy moving in their sleep, if he hadn’t been able to see someone sit up in the corner of the toy chest. It looked like Jessie, but the glow from his green paint had faded by then, and in the darkness he couldn’t really tell. He knew for sure it was Jessie when he heard her crying softly.
His heart went out to her immediately. He didn’t know that much about her yet, but after what he had seen her go through that day, he couldn’t blame her for crying. Buzz wanted to see if he could help her, but wondered if it was appropriate, since they only met earlier that day, and it was the middle of the night. Plus, so far his few attempts at talking to her had left him a stammering mess. But he found himself quietly and carefully moving to her corner of the box, making sure not to disturb the other toys as he did so. She was the new toy in the room, he reasoned, and he should help make her feel at home.
“Buzz?” the cowgirl whispered in confusion when she saw the outline of his figure in front of her in the dark. “What are you doing?”
The space ranger suddenly realized he hadn’t planned what to say. It helped that he could only just make out her face. “Well, ma’am, I um- I heard you… you sounded upset, and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help.”
Even in the darkness, he could see the confused expression on her face as she tried to figure out how to respond, and he regretted his decision. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come over here. I’ll just-”
“No,” she interrupted, “it’s alright. I wouldn’t mind having your company right now.” She motioned for him to sit down next to her, on the side not occupied by Bullseye. The cowgirl took a few deep breaths to try and calm herself down enough to stop crying, but it didn’t work. “I’m sorry,” she said in embarrassment when she saw the look of concern on Buzz’s face. “I was stored in a box for a long time, and… and I have trouble with the dark and with small spaces. I was fine for a little while and I thought maybe I’d get to sleep, but it got worse...” She ran her hands nervously over her braided hair.
“No need to apologize,” Buzz assured her. “You don’t have to stay in the toy box if you don’t want to. You could get out and come back before Andy wakes up in the morning.”
She shook her head. “I need to get used to it,” she said between sobs. “I’ll be okay.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
There was a earnestness in his voice that surprised her. Was he always this sweet, she wondered? They’d known each other less than twenty-four hours, how could he already care about her? Maybe he was just trying to be nice and make her feel at home.
“Distract me. Tell me about Andy. Is he as good a kid as he seems?”
“He is.” Buzz told her about her new owner until the crying stopped and she seemed much more relaxed. Most of his stories were from his time with Andy, but some he’d heard from Woody or Slinky or the others.
“He tried staying awake the entire night, but-” The space ranger looked back at Jessie. Her head was resting on Bullseye, and she was fast asleep. He thought he’d never seen anything so adorable.
“Goodnight,” he whispered to her, before returning to his original spot to try to get some shuteye himself.
Woody put a tape into the VCR, pushed play, and joined Bo on the sofa to watch Oklahoma! It was their tradition to watch it every year on their anniversary, which was what that day happened to be. Woody didn’t usually care for musicals, but Bo convinced him to watch it in the early days of their relationship. As she expected, the theme of cowboys and farmers in the Wild West won him over.
Bo settled into Woody’s side and he put his arm around her while the overture played. The Davises were out of town that night and the other toys were upstairs, so they had the living room to themselves.
“Comfortable?” the sheriff asked.
“Good, because we’re about to have to sit through five minutes of just music before the movie actually starts.”
“We can fast forward through it if you want.”
Woody’s eyes went wide with surprise at her suggestion. “Bo ‘I want to hear the music’ Peep is actually okay with skipping this part?”
She shrugged. “I like it, but I don’t mind.”
“It’s okay,” he responded. “The music is nice.”
The movie finally started, and they watched as the two lead characters – a young blonde woman and a cowboy – tried to deny their feelings for each other.
“Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like to live on the prairie back then?” Bo asked during the ballet scene. Woody thought he heard a little bit of wistfulness in her question. “It must’ve been exciting to be part of a brand new state, in a land of opportunity.”
“Yeah, but it came with its own set of challenges.”
She was quiet for a moment. “I think I would’ve liked it.” A thought entered her mind, one she’d had many times lately. It made her feel guilty, and she never intended to share it with anyone. But in that moment it didn't feel like a choice.
“I sometimes wish I could live out in the real world,” she confessed. “It seems like its own kind of wild west.”
Woody hoped he didn’t look as shocked as he felt. If it were anyone else saying this, he would say something about how their job was to be there for Andy or Molly. “What makes you feel this way?” he asked instead.
“The world seems so big, and us toys only get to see so little of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life here. But sometimes I wonder what we’re missing out on.”
“From my experience, not much.”
She decided it wasn’t worth discussing further, and besides, what toy would want to live life without a kid?
As the movie went on, the two main characters eventually confessed their love and got married. The brief end credits rolled, and Woody had an idea.
“Come with me,” he said, and he helped her down to the floor.
“What are we doing?”
He answered by putting his arm around her waist and taking her hand. “May I have this dance?”
She beamed at him, and he thought he might melt. “Of course Sheriff.”
The exit music, an instrumental of the film's love song, began to play, and they danced slowly together. The music didn’t last long, and neither of them wanted the moment to end. After the music went away, Woody surprised both of them and started singing softly.
Who cares what happens now
Just keep your hand in mine
Your hand feels so grand in mine
Let people say we’re in love
He didn’t quite have the voice of Gordon Macrae, but that didn’t matter. Delighted, Bo closed her eyes and rested her head on his chest as they danced.
Starlight looks well on us
Let the stars beam from above
Who cares if they tell on us
Let people say we’re in love
“You know what I’d really like right now?” she asked after he finished the song.
“An Oklahoma hello,” she answered with a coy smile.
Woody was happy to oblige.
For those who aren't familiar with the musical/movie "Oklahoma!" here is the song at the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFL6H7T4uXs
And an "Oklahoma hello": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOxajhCdIqU