Promised to Another

Promised to Another by Laura Hilton

Book: Promised to Another by Laura Hilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Hilton
Tags: General Fiction
comb, slicing upward, and then complete it with a downward thrust of the knife, to uncap the cells on the lower part of the frame.”
     
    After the frame had been uncapped, Joshua lowered it vertically into the extractor with the others. Then, Isaac closed the lid and began cranking. “You start spinning slowly at first. Build the speed as you progress. Don’t ever spin the frames at the maximum speed, because it might damage the delicate wax comb.” After he’d spun the extractor for five or six minutes, he had Joshua turn all of the frames to expose the other sides to the outer wall of the extractor. Then, he let Joshua do the spinning.
     
    “As the extractor fills with honey, it becomes difficult to turn the crank, so then we need to drain off some of the harvest.” He opened a valve at the bottom of the extractor and let it filter through a honey strainer into the bottling bucket.
     
    After that, they used the valve in the bottling bucket to fill the honey jars. “I’ll let Annie label them later,” Isaac explained. “One of her friends has a computer and a printer and can make these labels that we’ll simply peel off and stick on.”
     
    The job took all morning and left him sticky, but Joshua had fun, anyway. They took a break for lunch around noon, and then Joshua spent the rest of the day working in the machine shop.
     
    That evening, Joshua helped Isaac put the extracted frames on top of the hive, sandwiched between the top deep and the inner and outer covers. “We’ll just leave them here for a few days and let the bees clean them up,” he said. “They’ll lick up every last drop of honey, making the frames dry and ready to store until next honey season.” Honey extracting certainly made for easier cleanup than the sugar mapling process.
     
    After dinner, Joshua asked to borrow a buggy but didn’t explain why: he wanted to go to see Rachel, the girl he’d taken home from singing last Sunday. That night, he’d promised to come by and take her for a walk, but he hadn’t yet. So, he headed for her haus, though his primary purpose in going was to break things off. He hardly knew Rachel, but he was sure she wasn’t the one for him. Still, he didn’t want to burn any bridges. He didn’t return to the Beilers’ until after Annie had gone to bed, so he’d barely seen her all day. He hated to imagine what she thought of him, spending so much time with another girl, especially after their conversation about him being a player. It certainly wouldn’t look good.
     
    And if Annie had been the prankster, she’d probably retaliate in some form. The first chance he got, he would tell her he’d ended things with Rachel.
     
    On Thursday morning, when Joshua opened his bedroom door to go to the bathroom, he was showered with an aromatic white dust. Baby powder. Someone had sprinkled it heavily on the top of his door. Thankfully, no one was around to laugh at his sneezing fit, though he was fairly positive the perpetrator couldn’t have gone far.
     
    He proceeded to the shower, eager to rid himself of the smell he associated with babies’ diapers. But another equally distinct scent—strawberry, he thought—emanated from the red-tinted water that gushed down on him. He quickly turned off the water, unscrewed the shower head, and found it filled with a mostly dissolved powdery pink substance. One peek inside the trash can next to the shower confirmed his suspicions: strawberry Jell-O. With water from the spigot in the tub, he cleaned the shower head of all traces of the powder, watching as clumps of gooey red whizzed down the drain.
     
    All the while, he muttered to himself in disbelief. He’d had a warmer welcome at the Schwartzes’, despite his problems with Luke. Given what he knew now, Joshua would gladly let Luke have Annie—again, assuming Annie was responsible. He couldn’t rule out Aaron or Cathy. Heaving a sigh, he reattached the shower head and finally took a shower, hoping Isaac

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