Chapter 14

As he said that, everyone looked expectantly at the stage. "Ms. Bonita’s going to show up any time now, Ivor!" Ged could hardly contain the excitement in his voice. Ivor looked calm, but his gaze betrayed his true feelings. Trina palmed her chest. "I'm so nervous, mom! My greatest idol is about to appear." Vera's hand started to sweat as she anxiously tightened her grip on Bonnie's wrist. "Stay calm. We'll go talk to her after she’s done." Bonnie tried to pull her wrist from her mother's hand. "I need to go to the restroom." "What? Ms. Bonita is about to go on stage, and you want to go to the restroom now?" "I really need to go." "You're going nowhere, young lady." A minute passed, but Ms. Bonita still didn't show up. "What's going on? Where's Ms. Bonita?" The crowd whispered among themselves. The host sweated profusely. Just as he was about to go backstage to ask about Bonnie, he spotted her sitting among the attendees. What on earth? What was she sitting there for? Bonnie frowned and glanced at Vera, who was holding onto her tightly. The host caught on and quickly arranged for someone to help her. Very soon, an elderly professor walked toward the family. "Hello, I'm Professor Terry. I’m a researcher working for Ms. Bonita." Gresham and Vera were surprised that he would come over to talk to them. "It's an honor to meet you, Professor Terry. What can we do for you?" The couple were excited, but they kept their cool. Professor Terry wasn't as esteemed as Ms. Bonita in Arvandor, but he was a heavyweight in the academic world. Someone like him wouldn't just come over to talk to them for nothing. "I'm here for…" Professor Terry looked at Bonnie. Trina was standing next to Bonnie, so the couple thought he was referring to their adopted daughter and felt proud. "You're here because of Trina, aren't you? She's famous at her college, but we didn't expect you to have heard about her as well." "It's Trina's dream to work for you. She's planning to apply for an internship at the research institute during her junior year. We hope you’ll look out for her when the time comes." "Uh, is she? She needs to work hard then…" Professor Terry cleared his throat and tried to play along. In her eagerness to talk about Trina, Vera had forgotten all about Bonnie. Bonnie seized the opportunity to head backstage. The host sighed in relief. "Sorry about that. Without further ado, let's give a warm welcome to Ms. Bonita!" Bonnie took the stage in a surgical mask and hat. She took the microphone and deepened her voice as she said, "This breakthrough in the new nanomaterial was the result of the collective effort of the whole team. So please, give each and every one of them your warmest applause." Bonnie looked at a group of professors sitting in the front row and started introducing them one by one. "Professor Jamie Harper. "Professor Riley Chambers. "Professor Charlie Knowles…" The crowd applauded as they were introduced. The old professors were moved to tears as they received Ms. Bonita’s gratitude. "Don’t you think Ms. Bonita looks like Bonnie, Ivor?" Ged asked, puzzled. Ivor shook his head and said, "You're imaginative, I'll give you that." Ged chuckled. "Anyway, Bonnie said they would announce their collaboration with The Knight Group. She's so full of shit." Just as he finished saying that, Bonnie continued. "Next, I'm going to announce something important." Curious, everyone listened attentively. Bonnie looked at Ivor. "Hmm?" Ivor noticed her gaze and was puzzled. "What's the matter, Ivor?" Ged looked over his shoulder and asked. "Ms. Bonita seems to be looking at me…" "I'm glad you haven't lost your sense of humor." Ged chuckled. Ivor frowned. Could he have been mistaken? Bonnie continued, "I know many of you have come here to secure the rights to the new nanomaterial, but I've already decided which company we’re going to work with." A commotion broke out. "What? She’s already decided? I wonder who that lucky son-of-a-bitch is!" "I tried to get as much funding as I could just so the research institute would choose my company. I guess all my efforts were useless!" "Don't keep us in suspense, Ms. Bonita. Tell us which company you’re going with." Bonnie announced, "I’ll be working with the Knight Group." Ivor was stunned. Scenes of Bonnie showing off flashed across his mind. "Holy shit! Did I just hear that? That’s… that’s…" Ged was stupefied. "It looks like there's more to Bonnie than meets the eye, Ivor!" Ged did not think that this was a coincidence. Bonnie had been right about the date of the press conference. And now the research institute had announced their collaboration with the Knight Group just as she said they would! Ivor was a smart man, and he shared Ged's opinion. When the press conference ended, Ivor noticed the Shepards were all present except for Bonnie. He grew thoughtful. Suddenly, he got up and walked toward the stage. Bonnie was mobbed by the crowd as soon as she left the stage. The security guards tried to hold them back in vain. "Stop pushing! Get more guards over here to protect Ms. Bonita!" "Ms. Bonita, what do you plan to research next?" "Ms. Bonita, our TV network would like to invite you for an exclusive interview. Could you spare us some time? It won't take long." "Care for dinner with me, Ms. Bonita?" The situation started growing out of control as everyone tried to get to her. "Get out of the way! I want an autograph." Bonnie was a good fighter, but there was nothing she could do in a situation like this. Suddenly, something unexpected happened! A camera that was thrust upward tipped her hat, and her long hair fell out. Bonnie's mask was nudged off her face too.