"No Zac! I want you to stay here!" Walker stated firmly.
"But... but you promised! How come Ike can and I can't?"
"Zac? I need you here right now. Please try to understand. When we come back you can go out on the next search party. I want you to take care of your brother and sisters right now. Please can you do that for me?"
Zac slowly cast his eyes toward the tent where Ike was talking with the police chief and some other men. He could see they were looking at a map of the area.
"I suppose Dad... but I still think it is unfair. There are so many people here who could look after Makie and the girls."
"They need you right now. All this excitement is scaring them and your mother is trying to keep things in order around here and she needs your help. I want them to be with family."
"I... I'm sorry. I guess you're right." Zac agreed sadly looking into his father's frustrated eyes.
Walker nodded and grabbed Zac by the shoulders lovingly.
"I promise on the next one you can go for sure."
"Okay Dad... but I hope you find Tay and then I won't have to go out on the next search party!" Zac exclaimed trying not to show his frustration.
"I hope so too!" Walker smiled.
Zac stood there watching his father walking toward the others in the tent. He couldn't help but still feel a little angry. He turned around and slowly walked toward the camper where his brother and sisters were seated around a table set up outside eating lunch. He noticed that Amy was with them and in deep conversation with Jessie.
Amy looked up at Zac when he approached the table. A big smile formed across her face.
"Hi Zac! Are you hungry?"
"No....not really." Zac stated and angrily plopped into a chair next to her and crossed his arms over his chest.
"They wouldn't let you go on the search party?"
"No! And I still think it is unfair. I thought I was going and then I was told to watch over you guys!"
"Sorry Zac." Jessie said sadly, knowing how her brother felt inside.
"Hey! I am not blaming you. I know I wouldn't want strangers watching over me either. I...I just want to look for Tay!" He stated as tears of frustration welled in his eyes.
"I know how you feel Zac. I wish I could go out and look for Tay too!" Jessie added looking down at her hands sadly.
Zac looked up at Jessie and gave her sympathetic smile. Mackie bolted up and ran around the table and jumped onto Zac's lap and hugged him tightly around the neck.
"I promise I won't be bad and I will listen to whatever you say Zac." Makie said lovingly. Avie nodded in agreement, seated across the table from Zac, as she took another bite of her peanut butter sandwich. Zac couldn't help but smile and he gave Makie a big bear hug.
"Hey! I'm not mad at you Makie. Don't worry so much."
Mackie released his hold and leaned back looking into Zac's eyes.
"When is Tay coming back? Why can't they find him?"
"Don't worry. They will find him. It's just a matter of time now." He said trying to calm his little brother's fears. Makie nodded and hugged Zac again and then slipped off brother's lap and went back to his chair feeling not so scared anymore. Zac could always made him feel better.
Amy liked seeing the love that this family shared. It made her have a bigger crush on Zac watching him tenderly reassuring his little brother. She always thought that the Hanson's were very close and not because the magazines just said they were. She knew you could see it in pictures and hear it in interviews. She sat there staring at Zac.
"What?" Zac asked noticing Amy was smiling at him.
"Oh... I just... I just thought ..." Amy blushed pure red feeling flustered that Zac caught her staring at him. Jessica rolled her eyes.
"Oh boy! Another love struck girl!" Jessie laughed.
"I am not! I just thought it was cute the way Zac and Makie hugged each other."
Zac smiled back at Amy, thinking how adorable she was.
"Hey Jess? Stop embarrassing her." Zac scolded with a sly smile on his face.
"You told me you liked Zac the best Amy." Jessica defended herself smiling at Amy who frowned back.
"I...I....." Amy stammered on her words. She threw Jessie an angry look.
"You do?" Zac asked as his face lit up.
"Well...yeah!. Oh God! I feel so stupid right now."
"Don't! I like you a lot too. I did the moment I met you."
"I think I am going to throw up!" Jessie said rolling her eyes.
"Quiet Jessie!" Zac grinned.
Amy didn't know how to react. Her heart was pounding and her hands sweated. She just shyly looked up at him through her eye lashes.
Zac felt a little stupid too for just blurting out his feelings toward her. He wished he could be alone with Amy and just talk to her. She made him feel better when he first met her. He liked her sensitivity. Suddenly he saw his father and Ike leaving the camp with the search party. He yearned so bad to go with them, but now Amy at least gave him a reason to stay. He wanted to get to know her better.
"Want to go for a walk Amy?"
"But you are suppose to stay and watch us." Avery stated excitedly.
"I am... I'm just going to take a walk a little distance away, where I can still see you. Okay?"
"Sure I would love to go for a walk!" Amy answered happily.
Jessica just shook her head. Zac threw her a look and she just smiled back with a teasing look on her face. Zac took Amy's hand and they walked out toward the woods.
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