No Hope with Dope

(After Zack and Kelly leave Johnny's place)

Things had been wonderful the past few days, as if the gang had been living in a dream. Kelly had been the object of a movie star's affection. Zack had been a movie star's best pal. The whole gang had been invited to a Hollywood party. They were even going to be in a commercial with the same Hollywood star, Johnny Dakota, tomorrow. Now, they weren't sure if they wanted any of that anymore. The dream just didn't seem to have the same appeal now. Johnny Dakota wasn't a hero, he was a hypocrite.

"Aw, come on, Kelly! Zack it's just a little pot!" The rest of the guest laughed as Zack and Kelly headed toward the door. "Looks like she's just saying, 'No'! What a goody- goody, Johnny!" The jeers of Johnny's friends caused Kelly's cheeks to burn with embarrassment. The fact that Johnny put her in that position made her angry at him, and thinking that he might look down on her because she didn't take a hit made her angry at herself.

As she walked out Johnny's door with her arms folded, she felt a little sick to her stomach. It wasn't from nerves like it had been earlier when she had realized she was going to be a movie stars date to a Hollywood party. Instead, it was the sick feeling of being let down and embarrassed by someone she idolized. She heard Zack's footsteps close behind. Suddenly, she felt his arm wrap around her shoulders. Realizing that he probably needed comfort too, Kelly slid her arm around his waist. Neither of them said a word as they walked together to Zack's car.

Still silent, Zack put his coat over Kelly's shoulders and opened the car door as she slid into the passenger seat. She tried to smile to thank him, but it was too difficult. Zack understood how she felt. He knew that Kelly must feel even worse than he did. He shut the car door gently, trying not to break the silence. Even the engine sounded sad as they pulled out of the driveway and into the street. Zack glanced over at Kelly who was staring out of the passenger window. This is going to be a long ride, Zack thought. It was an hour drive from Johnny's party to Palisades and with the silence combined with the emotions five minutes had already seemed like eternity.

Zack looked over at Kelly briefly. Even though the car was dimly lit, there was enough light from the street for Zack to see a tear escape from her eyes. I think I'm gonna cry, Zack imagined hearing her say. No, she only said that when she was about to cry happy tears. He hated to see Kelly cry-- especially these heartbroken tears. He either wanted to cry too, or he wanted to punch the lights out of whatever guy had caused them. Only Johnny had caused these. Johnny was so likable, so cool. Zack couldn't hate him.

Suddenly, Kelly broke the silence. "Thank you, Zack," even though she spoke softly, her voice echoed through the car.

"I didn't do anything," he replied, his eyes were on the road ahead.

"Yeah. You did. You did the right thing. I was so scared…" her voice trailed off. "Just you being there gave me courage to stand up to Johnny… just like you," she'd been staring out the window as she spoke, but now she was looking at Zack. "Johnny plays a hero in the movies, but you're a true hero, Zack." She reached over and squeezed his free hand, then, let it go. He looked down at his empty hand for a moment halfway wishing she hadn't let go.

When they arrived at Kelly's house, she looked over at Zack who was staring straight ahead, "What are we going to do now? How can we shoot a commercial about not doing drugs with someone who does them?"

"We can't," Zack answered simply. Then, he turned and looked into her blue eyes. I'll come up with a way out of this, he thought. She nodded as if she'd read his mind. Then, she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tight for a moment. Then, just as quickly as the hug had happened, he watched Kelly disappear behind her front door.

***

It was a little after midnight, when Zack got home after dropping Kelly off. His parents had known he would be out for a while so they didn't wait up. When he got into bed, he tossed and turned. "I can't sleep," he muttered. Throwing off the covers he slipped out his window, and headed over to talk to the one who could help him whenever he was stumped—Jessie.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Zack tried to knock quietly on her window, but loud enough for her to hear him. Jessie was asleep on top of her covers still dressed in her outfit she wore to the party. Her phone was lying beside of her and her lips were curled into a slight smile. She must've fallen asleep gushing to Lisa about the party. Zack hated to disturb her—especially with bad news-- when she looked so content. But he had to come up with a plan, and he was too depressed to think on his own. He needed Jessie's help.

After a few more taps, Jessie stirred. She squinted looking around her room until she saw Zack at her window. She glanced at her clock then, quickly scrambled over to the window. "Zack what are you doing here? I thought you would still be at the party," she yawned as she spoke.

"Kelly and I left not long after you guys. How's Screech?" Zack asked gloomily as he crawled into her room and plopped down on the couch.

"He'll be fine. He just twisted the wrong way," she told him as she sat down at her desk. "Why did you leave early? I thought you two would be the last ones to leave. Did the party die down?"

"You could say that," he hesitated for a moment, then, let the words spill out, "Johnny does drugs."

"What? I don't think I heard you…" she stood up from the desk moving closer to try to hear him better.

"Johnny smokes pot. After I helped Screech out, I went back in and found him asking Kelly to try it." He ran his hand through his blond hair, mussing it up a little.

"That hypocrite! Putting drugs into the same hands of the people he claims to be protecting! Putting poor innocent Kelly into a position like that! I can't believe…" she was pacing now and her voice was escalating.

"Jessie, calm down," Zack interrupted. "Yelling about it in your bedroom isn't going to solve anything. I need you to keep your cool so we can figure this out. Besides, if your parents find out I'm in your room in the middle of the night, they'll kill me," he commented easing the tension a little.

Jessie couldn't help but smile a little. "I'm sorry, Zack," she sat back down and thought for a moment. "What if Kelly talked to him? Maybe she could help him see how wrong doing this commercial would be? I mean, if anyone has influence over Johnny it's her."

"No, Jessie, I think Johnny is the last person Kelly wants to talk to right now. She's crushed."

"Poor Kelly," Jessie whispered as she put her head in her hands and continued to think.

"Yeah," Zack recalled Kelly's face and the tears that he'd seen. There was no way Kelly would be able to talk to Johnny. She'd either be too angry or at a loss for words. He thought briefly of her hand squeezing his and the words she had told him. She'd called him the real hero. He had to behave like a hero now. If he could stand up to Johnny once, he could stand up to him again. Maybe Johnny would listen. "I'll talk to him. We've become friends over the past few days. Maybe he'll listen to me."

"Ok, then. I'll call Lisa, and we'll start spreading the word to the rest of the gang. Try to get some sleep, Zack," Jessie advised as she hugged him. Then, he started out the window. As he climbed down the tree, he saw her take her Johnny Dakota poster off her wall.