Danielle Steel's 'Family Ties'

"Get your ass in here," he said jokingly, as she pushed one more shopping bag into the plane. "There's a storm coming, and I want to get us home before it hits." The sky was darkening as he said it, and Jane's long blond hair was flying in the wind. She hopped in, and he leaned over and kissed her, and then concentrated on the dials in front of him. He had clearance to leave, and they had instruments if the weather got socked in. Bill put the headphones on and talked to the tower as Jane pulled a magazine out of her bag. She loved trashy gossip magazines and reading about famous actresses and their romances and breakups, and discussing them with Annie as though the celebrities were their friends. Bill loved to tease them about it.

He carefully watched the sky as they took off in a stiff wind, and he rose quickly to the altitude he'd been assigned by the tower. They would be landing at Westchester County Airport in roughly an hour. It was an easy flight, and he had to pay attention to the traffic around Boston. He chatted amiably with the tower several times and smiled at Jane. They'd had a nice weekend. As much as he loved them, it was nice to get away from the kids and have her to himself. "Annie sounds serious about her new guy," Jane reported as he laughed.

"You're not going to be happy until you marry her off." He knew his wife well, and they both knew he was right. "She's still a kid, and she just started her first job."

"I was twenty-two when I married you," she reminded him.

"Annie is twenty-six."

"You weren't as serious about your career as she is. Give her a chance. She's not exactly an old maid." There was no way she ever would be. She was young and beautiful, and men were always pursuing her. But Bill was right -- Annie wanted to get her career as an architect squared away before she settled down, which sounded sensible to him. And she loved being an aunt, but wasn't ready to have kids.

Jane noticed that Bill was looking distracted then, and concentrating on the darkening sky. The air got choppy, and Jane could see that they were heading toward a storm. She didn't say anything to Bill, she didn't like to bother him when he was flying, so she looked out the window and then opened her magazine and took a sip of her coffee. A moment later, it splashed in her lap as the plane started to bounce.

"What was that?"

"There's a storm coming up," he said, with his eyes on the dials, and he let the controller know they were hitting a lot of chop, and got clearance to drop to a lower altitude. Jane could see a big airliner flying above them on their left, probably coming in from Europe, heading to Logan or JFK. Their plane continued to bounce even at the lower altitude, and within minutes it grew worse, and Jane saw a bolt of lightning in the sky.

"Should we land?"

"No, we're fine," he smiled reassuringly, as it started to rain. They were over the Connecticut coast by then, and Bill turned to say something to her just when an explosion hit their left engine like a bomb, and the plane tipped crazily, as Bill concentrated on the controls.

"Shit, what was that?" Jane said hoarsely. Nothing like that had ever happened before, and Bill's face was tense.

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