All You Wanted
A Jessie and Woody story
Beneath the warm summer rays that glistened through the bright and clear window, the two children lay asleep on the bed. Jessie had never felt more comfortable in her life, the soft and welcoming touch of the cushions and cover were too relaxing to comprehend. Her eyes softly shut to the morning sun and her body resting easy in its' warmth. A sense of bliss and serenity, one she hadn't felt for years, returned to her promptly and securely. Never before had Jessie felt this at home. Any familiar memory of this had been darkened, now they seemingly rejoiced as they slowly returned to the light. Jessie dreamed of her mother, reminding herself of how much she missed her. Longing shrouded her aura and it was too over-powering. Because of this she tightened her embrace around the one person she needed and he in return did the same. They wanted so much to express how much they meant to each other, so their deep and elder selves looked after this as they slept.
The ancient sun lightly stroked Jessie's face with a caring and innocent hand. She twitched by the intensifying brightness revealed to her behind the closed eyes. It was enough to wake her but she turned her head away before exposing the leafy colour to the morning. She wondered if this was what a heaven was like. Waking in a safe and comforting place, one she never wants to leave. Her mind continuously adjusted to the reality around her and Jessie realised she was in an embrace.
Raising her head slowly, Jessie looked upon the sleeping boy beside her. Now she remembered so clearly what happened the night before and the bright light gifted to her by the sun was being questioned. So many mixes of emotions twirling from within and Jessie didn't know what to feel. After the commotion, the fright and the pain. What now? Jessie knew she should feel alone after another great loss, but she's dealt with the loss of her mother for such a long time now, Jessie adapted to it. What was she supposed to feel now?
Jessie backed away from Woody as quietly as she could and slipped off the bed. Taking a couple of steps back in deep sorrow, she stopped to timidly look down at his face. It made sense to her now; the sound of the gunshot ringing through her head and Jessie slowly shook her head in denial.
"I feel happy…" she whispered to herself. Tears fiercely burned from her eyes and seeing Woody made it worse. The memories were too hurtful and Jessie wondered so much whether she truly deserved to be here. Did she deserve him?
Turning away, she walked towards the door and shut it silently behind her. When she did, Woody turned restlessly in his sleep.
Looking down steadily, lost in heart and mind, Jessie took every creaky step across the hallway and towards the living room. This room was relatively small containing only a couch, a fireplace and a small table with a lantern. Masterpieces formed by the arachnid artists remained in the old corners of the cabin. Another one of those natural wonders Jessie marvels secretly. But now she didn't even pay attention to the cosy home within the aged wood. Her steps took her to the front door where her hand turned the knob revealing the blue yonder and an unknown future.
"Leaving so soon lil' lady?" she heard an old voice ask. Jessie turned to see Sheriff Dillin sitting on the couch, turning his upper body to face her. In his right hand hung over the couch she could see a half-eaten apple, and the top of a book was just visible in his other hand. Jessie sensed gentleness emitting from his presence and she relaxed in the same way she would if Mrs. Barlow was around.
"I – I have to go," Jessie said soundlessly attempting to continue her retreat through the door. But she couldn't even make one step.
"I see," Dillin replied calmly. "Did you say goodbye to Woody?"
"No, I –" Jessie couldn't find the words. "I didn't want to wake him. Not after last night."
Dillin smiled tenderly, "I don't think Woody will be very happy if you left without saying goodbye, darlin'."
Jessie felt bad that this obviously caring man was talking to a sort like her, "He probably would be after everything I've done to him."
"I would disagree. Especially after I saw both of you looking out for each other before I got to you last night," Dillin said. He turned back to place the apple and book down on the table to take a swig from his mug of coffee. Jessie watched him oddly. "If it wasn't for that, I might not have saved you in time. You can't deny that."
Jessie's grip on the door loosened slightly, "What do you mean?"
Dillin's smile never ceased and he turned back to her again, taking his apple. "You want something to eat, dear?" Jessie went bewildered and he chuckled, "Oh no - I'll get you one of your own."
He stood up and walked towards the fruit basket beckoning Jessie to follow him. Her eyes trailed and she instinctively closed the door. He gestured to the basket and said, "Take your pick. I know you haven't eaten for a while."
Dillin proceeded in refilling his coffee while Jessie nervously took a golden delicious before taking a bite. Her body took in the taste and nutrition with great gratitude. Despite her hunger, Jessie still felt no motive to eat. Dillin eyed her from the side and his expression softened further.
"What's wrong, darlin'?" he asked.
Jessie lowered the apple and sighed, "When I woke up this morning - I felt happy."
"Isn't that a good thing?"
Jessie raised her eyes to meet his, "I – I don't know… I don't know anymore."
Dillin smiled gently to her, "I can understand that." Jessie tried to listen intently, but everything was eating her up inside. Dillin knew that if he wanted Jessie to stand back up after this, then the time of doom and gloom needed to disappear. He wasn't going to let the opportunity go easily, especially when she was a unique girl.
He retook his seat and gestured again, this time for Jessie to sit beside him, which she did with docility. Dillin leaned forward to level his eyes with hers. "My dear, I understand how it's upsetting to lose someone close to you. But you haven't been close to your father for a long time now, have you?"
Jessie couldn't keep eye contact for long. She knew she was free from it now, which might have been the cause of her happiness. But she knew it was something else entirely.
"No…" But she wanted to be. That's how it should have been, but it didn't.
"Escape from an isolated place posing as your home would be any person's excuse for being happy, Jessica. It would certainly be mine," Dillin paused to take another sip of his coffee and Jessie respectfully remained silent to hear him out. "My dear, after what you've been through, you deserve to be happy. Your thoughts prove you're a bright girl and it's wise for your years. But now isn't a time for you to question that happiness."
"Because it wasn't your fault for your fathers' mistake. He drowned in his own sorrows and didn't make amends. You tried to help and made a stand. Adults have a hard time doing that, let alone a young girl. Now your father's in a better place and it's opened your life ahead of you. Take it as it presents itself to you."
-In a better place?- Jessie thought.
Grown up things really didn't make sense to Jessie. She knew she would understand it one day but for now she had to let the words ease themselves into a chest. Locked in a memory and ready to present itself to her again when she needs it some other time.
"Do you think he's happy now, Sheriff?" she asked him.
Dillin nodded sincerely, "I know he is."
Maybe… just maybe, he was right.
"But, what's going to happen to me now?" Jessie asked neutrally.
Dillin widened his eyes quietly and turned them away from the redhead. He caught the returning presence of innocence in those leafy orbs and he was so glad because of it. But he couldn't bring himself to answer. The spark of hope within them broke his heart to what the answer was going to be and he couldn't tell her yet. He just couldn't.
"My dear would you mind heading out to the cabin and fetching my jacket? I think I left it in the barn," he asked to change the subject.
The lack of answer worried Jessie a little bit. She let it go, slightly, for now and nodded to Dillin before going through the door and towards the barn beside the cabin.
The sun was relaxing and she could smell the oncoming scents of a new day in the air. It was refreshing and calming, clearing Jessie's head. She really did want to know what was going to happen now. She was an orphan… with nowhere to go. It would be impossible to think where she would like to stay could actually happen. As now she only had one source of happiness left, the one that has been with her for longer than when she was aware of it.
Entering the barn, she looked over the stacks of hay and withered structures of wood trying to seek Dillins' jacket. No sign caused Jessie to look further. Going deeper into the barn she was unaware of the young foal Bullseye hiding behind the piles. He was peeking over the top to see her and was entranced by the young girl. Nothing in his gut was telling the horse that she was a threat or a bad person, but still he had to be careful. So he waited for her to pass before following from behind. Jessie again was unaware of Bullseye close behind her, and he managed to get close enough to smell her hair. Jessie's senses went amber alert when he did and she spun around quick. Bullseye flinched and crouched down in worry but Jessie was in deep joy to see the young horse so close.
Those large brown eyes, her favourite colour to see in a pair, took her back to all of the evenings she'd follow Woody home. All those wishes hiding from possibility but a rare piece presented itself to Jessie. She raised her hand and reached out slowly to Bullseye. The young foal lifted his muzzle in surprise by the girls' open acceptance and he met her halfway. Jessie gently placed her hand on his muzzle and Bullseye happily felt Jessie's thumb stroke him.
"You like that, boy?" she asked with a small smile. Bullseye's bright and intelligent eyes twinkled in response and Jessie just had to smile wider. "You're Bullseye aren't you?"
The foal wasn't that surprised to hear Jessie say his name. No words can be said from his mouth, but if he were human, he still wouldn't betray the secret he kept to himself every time he spotted her hiding in the bushes for many nights. Bullseye was quite surprised when she never came out to play with him and Woody, but something about the tension he picked up on whenever he was between them kept the foal quiet. It was a deep shame that has been forgotten about now she's finally dared to come closer.
Bullseye licked Jessie's outstretched hand in comfort. He was really glad to see her here. She was a natural in welcoming animals into her heart and Bullseye serenaded the warm aura she had in his own. It's just like when he was around Woody, and now he can share it with another human too. He had a burst of eagerness to play with her, but first thing was first. Bullseye retreated from Jessie's hand and walked closer to sniff her all over. Jessie wasn't sure how to respond by his confidence but all she could do was giggle whenever he came across a part of her she'd rather keep to herself. At least he was friendly.
While he was getting to know her more, the young boy peered steadily from around the barn door. He was fidgeting with his hands, quite nervous as his gaze caught his friends. Woody had woken up shortly after Jessie did but the aftermath of the night before was calmed after Dillin directed him to where Jessie was. He was happy to know she was still here.
Jessie looked up from Bullseye and she was soothed from the excitement when she naturally met his gaze. Woody held onto his arm to stop his fidgeting with a clear head when she did, even Bullseye calmed himself when Woody came by. The vibes emitting from them were warming and embracing but they were lost as to what to do next. Bullseye took a couple of steps back and neither of them seemed to notice. Whatever they decided to do now was up to them.
Jessie, in all fairness, wanted to hug him to death again. After everything they've been through together, she was suddenly aware of how important it was to have him in her life. Woody felt exactly the same way, and with that thought in mind he felt there was no need for nerves anymore. A calm smile grew like a fresh seed in spring soil on his face and for all the moments they shared, Jessie returned it with new and bright chirpiness. She loved him for forgiving her, and he loved her for caring about him. They loved each other for wanting to be together.
"I see you met Bullseye," he said gently with the smile never leaving.
"Yes," she said in the same tone. "He's very sweet." Bullseye came closer so he could get his ears scratched by Jessie. He then walked over to Woody who stroked his short and scruffy mane.
"He's a handful. But you must be special since he wasn't scared of you. He normally gets frightened away by people," said Woody. Jessie took note of how he didn't make eye contact with her when he said that. It looked like he was saying a confession but indirectly. Jessie just smiled larger.
"Maybe he was finally given his chance and seeing himself as something more than he originally thought," she suggested.
"I like to think so," Woody replied. "After all, he is growing up."
"Yes he is."
Woody lifted his head confidently with a hopeful face and Jessie responded with a much larger smile. They couldn't help it anymore and broke the distance between them in an embrace. Bullseye's dog-behaving tail went into frenzy when they did. Jessie buried her head into Woody's shoulder and sighed deeply, hoping to all deities and spirits that this wasn't just a dream.
Woody was worried about her sigh for a moment and asked, "Are you okay Jessie?"
Jessie took her time to answer, she was in too much serenity to realise how long she let him wait. "I'm more than okay, Woody. Oh so much more…"
Satisfied with her answer, Woody relaxed and savoured the hug while it lasted. It ended quicker than they hoped when Dillin stepped through the door.
"Alright you two lovebirds," he said making the two part. Dillin was surprised when neither of them hysterically denied what he just said and instead looked up to him tranquilly. However, he didn't question it because he kind of liked it. "I need both of your help to load the haystacks onto the field."
"Okay Dillin," Woody responded automatically. He turned to Jessie. "You up for it, Jess?"
Jessie was starting to enjoy the stimulation she felt whenever she heard Woody confident about something.
- Showing me the real you, are we? – she thought happily at him.
"You underestimate me, Woody," she said running out the barn door. Dillin watched her go, a bit bewildered about her change in moods. Whatever Woody said to her was obviously the right thing to say. He was about to congratulate him on cheering her up but his head ended up recycling its movement when Woody ran after her with Bullseye joyfully following. Bullseye neighed a goodbye before disappearing into the morning sun.
"Three of them… oh Lord…"
"Good morning Sheriff," he heard a voice greet. Dillin stepped out the barn door to see Mrs. Barlow in a pretty pink dress with a large parasol being held above her head.
"Oh howdy, missy," he greeted back, turning his head back in the direction of the youngsters in the crop field.
The golden-haired teacher fondly placed her hand on his arm after seeing his face. "Are the children okay?"
Dillin answered softly, "They didn't let go of each other since they passed out in Pickett's cabin. Dear Jessie is now alone in this world."
Mrs. Barlow looked out to the field. "Oh I wouldn't say that."
Dillin looked up and chuckled under his breath. "No, perhaps not."
"Pre-determined lovers, don't you think?" Mrs. Barlow asked with a sugary smile.
"Please ma'am. More like partners in crime," Dillin said with a shake of his head, only earning a small laugh from her. "I don't understand that boy."
"I don't think you ever will, Sheriff," Mrs. Barlow said. "Good thing too, especially if you want him to take your place one day."
Mrs. Barlow's smile faded away when she felt Dillin tense up. A deep and regrettable sigh escaped him as his eyes trailed downwards to the dirt beneath his boots. Something about that sigh clenched a tightening grip around her heart.
"What's wrong Sheriff?" she asked worriedly.
Dillin didn't want to speak, however he knew it was an unavoidable trap he was landed in, "I don't want to do it Mrs. B - but I swore to myself and to the ones who long since passed, that I would look after that boy."
Mrs. Barlow's eyes glistened, "What do you mean?"
"I've finally been noticed…"
Mrs. Barlow took a deep breath now understanding what was going on, "It'll be okay, Sheriff. We'll think of a way to make it so."
"I'm not so sure it will be, Mrs. B. How can I pass on the news to them after getting so close?"
"Maybe I could help?"
Everything in the past vanished like the morning mist and neither of them chose to look back. Looking ahead, even then in the world around them, it was bright and ready to be taken by the hand. Woody and Jessie had finally found what they always wanted which turned out to be exactly what they needed. Side-by-side they loaded the hay with Bullseye beside them. Naturally their playfulness took over and that turned into fun antics around the crop field when they finished. Wide open spaces just asked to be ran around in and the two young cowfolk with their foal rolled in the dirt, chased each other and laughed all the while.
All the playtimes they wanted with each other had finally come down to this. The mishap of their first meeting regained itself by fate, and all the joy from this day overpowered the hurt of the ones from before. Gifting them with some new memories to rearrange their thoughts and warmth for the hearts at last. It was shared between Woody and Jessie, as friends and soul mates.
They played games for the rest of the day, but when the sun finally foretold the light's departure, they ended their games and went back to Dillins' cabin. The Sheriff waited for them at the door and welcomed them in for tea. Bullseye went back to the stable with high spirits, despite how tired he was, and Dillin watched him go. Procrastinating the news wasn't helping him and he knew he had to tell it. How he was going to do it was very difficult to figure out. Old school seemed to be the best option here since he had no other way of doing it. So the old Sheriff stepped through the door and gently closed it behind him. The light from the lanterns inside illuminated the bright grass around the affable cabin and gradually the sky put the earth to sleep, setting that bright today into yesterday.
TEX JACK DILLIN
WE HAVE ALWAYS NOTED YOUR MANY ADMIRABLE DEEDS IN YOUR TOWN [STOP] WITH THE DEATH OF WESLEY PICKETT AND THE CAPTURE OF HIS MEN WE FEEL YOUR NOTORIOUS TALENT CAN BE OF GREATER USE IN OUR CITY [STOP] SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THIS POSITION WE WILL CONDUCT APPROPRIATE ACTIONS TO SAVE YOUR TOWN FROM BANKRUPCY [STOP] PLEASE TAKE THIS INTO CONSIDERATION AND LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED
JONATHAN WATT, CHIEF OF NEW YORK POLICE
The station wasn't much, just a rail leading into who knows where with a small platform indicating where the train will stop. Somehow the simplicity didn't make the situation any better for Jessie. She longingly looked out to the distance that she feared out of all things she's ever feared before. It was that horizon that was going to take him away from her. Jessie found that thought unbearable, in fact if there was a word to describe how she felt about it then it doesn't exist. The sun was burning red. It was so hot but she felt so cold. Behind her, she heard the quiet conversation between Sheriff Dillin and Mrs. Barlow and Jessie knew there was nothing she could to change the circumstances.
What's going to happen to me now? The answer came to her cruelly and she just wanted to explode by the emotion building within her.
Jessie didn't even settle when the sound of steps gently grew from behind her back. She could sense him there and she loved the aura she could feel. Inner knowing of how she was welcomed by him now, how she felt wanted and needed by him. It was returned affection Jessie didn't want to say goodbye to and she believed she wouldn't be able to go through this. Not even after everything else.
"I don't know what to say Jessie," Woody tried.
Jessie didn't turn to look at him. She feared if she did, she would pin him so hard to the ground they'd become stones.
"Suddenly the prairie seems so much smaller," Jessie quivered in her voice. Woody could hear that she was breaking down inside and it broke his heart. It was killing him inside himself, but he knew he had to be a rock for her now.
"It's not Jessie," he said. "It's right there waiting for you to roam and it always will be. Just for you."
"What's the point in roaming it if you're not with me Woody?" Jessie said, trying to keep herself together. Woody tried to think of a way around that, but this was too hard for its' own good. "I won't be able to go on without you."
"I won't be able to either Jessie," he told her honestly. "Oh earth knows I won't…"
Jessie knew she had to, even if she was scared, but if she didn't look at him now then she'll never have another opportunity to do so again. So she turned her head to see those sienna eyes; her most beloved treasures. She could see this was hard for him too. Woody's eyes were glistening like an unsettled lake and once again Jessie felt ease when she knew he was sharing her pain.
Her voice cracked into a whisper, "Then why are you going?"
Woody went closer to Jessie. "It's because I will be with you, and you'll be with me. In here…" He gently placed his left hand onto her chest where her heart paced its beat to touch his hand. Jessie looked down to his hand and immediately held onto it with both of hers. Jessie knew he was right. They'll be in the same world together and their hearts will always hold a special place for each other. Just them and only them. But it…
"… it's not the same," Jessie said with eyes shut tight. She didn't care that the agonising tears spilled from them now. Her truthful words made it worse and she pulled his hand closer to her heart.
"I know," Woody said. But then he smiled at her. "But we'll see each other again."
His voice was bright and hopeful making Jessie lift her head. The situation was too upsetting for them but when Woody said that, she hoped maybe he could turn this around for her.
"I know we will Jess. I'll make sure we do," said Woody with confidence. And he meant every word. He lifted his other hand, took hold of her left and placed it over his own beating soul-bearer. "I promise."
Jessie grinned at him. "Do you swear on your future Sheriff's badge Woody?"
"I doubt I'll get that good," Woody giggled. "I'll tell you what though…" He released his hands and took out a long and silky yellow ribbon out of his pocket. "I swear on my mother's hair band we will."
"Your mother?" Jessie asked gently as she was entranced by the ribbon held end-to-end by Woody's hands.
"It was something she always held dear before she passed away. To prove to you I will come back, I want you to look after it for me," Woody said to Jessie. "Will you?"
When it was held out to her, Jessie felt high-spirited inside. This wasn't the end at all. In fact it was far from it. Graciously, the silk slipped from Woody's hands into Jessie's and she held it close to her.
"I'll look after it for you, Woody. And you better keep your promise…" Jessie said with a large smile. "… because I might not look good with my hair up all the time."
Woody laughed at Jessie's statement. That was something for the two of them to hold onto. In this big wide world, they needed something like that. Woody turned his head when Dillin called for him to board the train. With a sigh, they turned to each other and embraced for the last time that day. Woody inhaled the scent of her hair when the breeze raised it up to his face and Jessie in turn caught his scent when she rested her face against the soft fabric of his clothing.
It was time. The train was readying to go and Woody picked up his bag. Jessie leaned forward and gave him a small peck on his nose, which he blushed furiously at with wide eyes.
"Thank you… for everything Woody," Jessie said finally.
Woody calmed and smiled at her, "You're welcome."
Turning slowly and taking the few steps onboard the train, Mrs. Barlow stood beside Jessie and wrapped an arm around her shoulders with Bo on her other side. When the door was closed, Jessie looked to the floor still finding it hard to cope with this. Until she heard,
"Hey!" Jessie looked up to see Woody hanging out the window. "I'll see you soon Jessie!"
Her bright emerald eyes sparkled and she grinned at him, "I'll hold you to that Woody!"
Woody smiled back and waved goodbye. As he did so the train began the journey away and as he was fading further and further into the distance, Jessie broke from Mrs. Barlow's embrace and ran after it. She ran as fast as she could and finally stopped on top of a hill. She stood still with the humming winds brushing her hair. Bullseye who also longed on the day they would be together again joined Jessie, and she affectionately wrapped her arms around the young foal.
And just like Woody, even when he's far from her sight, she'll never stop looking beyond the hills, until they meet again.
Author's Note: Thank you to all of those who reviewed. You wouldn't believe how much they brighten my day ^^