Disclaimer: I don't own the Toy Story movie or characters…

First Rain

By Jennifer Collins

Jessie awoke on a typical Thursday morning stretching and yawning as she did nearly every day. When she looked over to her right, expecting to see Molly's sleeping form, she found with a start that the toddler bed was empty, except for her and a small brown teddy bear. Jessie bolted upright, almost in a panic. She looked to the teddy bear.

"She's gone downstairs to play," the little bear answered Jessie's unspoken question. Jessie wordlessly looked up to the top of Molly's dresser. Bo Peep stood at her usual perch by the lamp. She and her sheep were all still asleep. The digital clock next to her read 9:36.

"Whoa!" Jessie shouted. In a few quick motions, she took her cowgirl hat off of her head, slid through the bars of Molly's toddler bed, pulled her hat through, jumped to the floor and straightened the hat back on her head. She picked up a soft round ball from the floor and threw it up to the top of the dresser. "Wakey, wakey!" She yelled to Bo Peep. "Time to get up, Sleepy Head!"

Bo dreamily wiped the sleep from her eyes. "What are you doing up so early, dear?" She asked when she saw that the room was still pretty dark.

"It ain't that early, darlin'! It's almost twenty to ten! Why's it so dark?"

Bo looked out the window, from which no sun shone through. She saw dark heavy clouds through the water-streaked glass. "It's raining outside," she informed Jessie.

Jessie nodded slowly. Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. "Andy's late for school!" She quickly ran to the bedroom door and peered out to make sure the coast was clear. In a moment, Bo was right behind her. The two scurried across the hall and slipped through the tiny sliver of space between the door to Andy's room and the door frame. Once inside, they found that all the other toys were still fast asleep.

Jessie climbed onto the already made and looked around. "I guess he made it on time then." She crawled over to where Woody lay sleeping and gently shook his shoulders.

Woody opened his eyes and was startled to see her. "Jess, it's still dark outside," he moaned. "What do you want?"

"It's late mornin' already and it's gettin' later every second," she informed him, as if he should already have known.

Woody sat straight up. "Andy!"

"Already gone to school," Bo Peep said quietly.

Woody's heart sank a little. He liked to silently see Andy off from the window as he left for school in the morning. He turned to look at the alarm clock on Andy's nightstand, but Buzz was sleeping like a plastic log in front of it.

"It's nearly ten o'clock," Bo said in her gentle voice.

Woody looked to the window and nodded once he saw what the weather looked like. "Can you two help me wake the others?" Woody asked, but Bo and Jessie were already doing just that.

Woody pulled himself up and placed his hands on Andy's nightstand. His eyes just made it over the edge. "Buzz!" He hissed loudly. "Buzz, wake up!"

"To infinity…." Buzz muttered sleepily. He rolled over and caught himself before he fell off the edge. 'Woody? What are you doing? Andy will hear you."

"Andy's already at school, Buzz," Woody said, a little impatiently. "It's a rainy day today and it's already late."

By now the others- Hamm, Rex, Potato Head, and everybody- had already woken and were causing quite a stir. Woody heard footsteps and muffled crying in the hall. He looked at Buzz, alarmed.

"It's Thursday," Buzz reminded him.

Woody nodded. "Right. Food shopping day." He turned to the others. "Everybody freeze!' He said, just loud enough so that the rest of the toys would hear him. They all could hear Mom and Molly just outside the door.

"I don't know what you did with your doll," Mom was saying to her toddler. "Why don't you just take your bear instead?" Molly whined something to her mom that none of the toys could understand. "Well hurry up and pick one toy. We have to get to the grocery store and back before it starts pouring even harder."

The door to Andy's bedroom swung open and in stepped Molly. She surveyed the room briefly before finding what she was looking for. She grabbed Jessie from the floor and held her tightly under her arm. Mom took Molly by the hand and walked her down the stairs and out the door.

Once he heard the car start, Woody stood up on the bed and asked the toys what they wanted to play before climbing down the bedspread.

"Oh, I don't know,' Buzz mumbled as he jumped from the nightstand to the bed and proceeded to take the same route Woody had just taken.

"Aw, what's the matter, Buzz? Rainy day got you down?" Woody asked, half jokingly.

"Eh, Space Boy's just sour because a certain redheaded cowgirl isn't here to turn him into a blubbering fool," Hamm pointed out.

Buzz shook his head and joined the others in the game of Life they had just started. Hamm was right, but if he let them make a big deal out of it they would never stop. Besides, even though his heart still hammered at the speed of light every time he saw her, he had gotten a lot better about holding at least a semi intelligent conversation with her over the past few weeks since she'd arrived in Andy's room. In fact, he'd come to look forward to their one on one chats and even missed her during the few moments when she wasn't around. Right now, though, he wasn't sure how he would even get through this gloomy day without her bubbly spirit to liven things up. He'd never admit that out loud to Woody and the others, though.

He looked up to find them all staring at him knowingly. "Oh, cheer up," Woody said. "She'll be back before you know it." Buzz didn't miss the look he exchanged with Bo Peep and was glad that there were at least some who understood what he was feeling right now, even if they were all jesting at his expense as they played the game. He did manage to get into it, however, and right as they were finishing up, they all heard Molly and Andy's mom's car pull into the driveway.

Buzz ran to the window in time to see Jessie fall to the ground. "Oh, no! Isn't anyone going to pick her up? Pick her up!" He yelled to the thick glass. Woody and Rex climbed over to the window to see what he was talking about.