Chapter 6

Bonnie began to shadowbox with awe-inspiring precision and fluidity. She ended by punching a tree branch, managing to break it without disturbing the leaves. Everyone was shocked. Scott’s jaw dropped open. They looked at Bonnie as if they had seen a monster. "Did you get a good look?" Bonnie stopped and looked at Orson. The old man was impressed. "Your moves were perfect! You must be a kickboxing expert." Scott cleared his throat and approached her, blushing. "Young lady—uh, ma'am, I'm sorry if I offended you." Bonnie chuckled. "I'm not an expert. I just learned kickboxing to stay healthy." "Can you teach me some of your moves?" "I'd like to learn too!" Bonnie was soon surrounded by the old men, all eager to learn from her. At that moment, a voice said, "She's just a phony." Bonnie looked toward the source. A young woman who looked to be around 18 or 19 walked over. She was of average height, and a burly man almost two meters tall followed behind her. "Mind your manners, Kay!" Orson chided. "She's just a scammer, grandpa. She’s trying to impress you guys so she can swindle you!" Kay stood between Bonnie and Orson and glared at her. "She's not, okay? Her moves were perfect!" Orson said earnestly. "You're too gullible, grandpa. She must have done this many times. I bet she only knows those moves. “She’s just pretending to be an expert so you’ll pay to learn from her!" "Are you sure?" Orson frowned. Scott smacked his thigh and said angrily, "Kay is right! How could someone so young be so good at kickboxing? She has to be a phony!" The others whispered among themselves while glancing at Bonnie. "Fuck off, or I'll call the cops!" Kay Steele shouted as she shoved Bonnie away. Bonnie didn't want to argue with them, but she was upset that they had called her a phony. And that the young woman had told her to fuck off, too. "Do you have proof that I'm a scammer? Have I taken their money?" "Well, if I weren't here, you would have done it, wouldn't you?" Bonnie quirked her brow. "So you have no proof. Do you think the cops will believe you?" "I—" Kay was stumped. Bonnie continued, "And I can sue you for defamation, you know." "Sue me?" Kay was in disbelief. She had never seen such a shameless swindler before! "So you're saying you're not a phony? How about you spar with my bodyguard? I'll believe you if you can beat him." "Sure, but if he loses, you have to apologize to me." Bonnie wasn't a petty person, but she didn't like to be pushed around. "Alright, it's a deal! But if you lose, you have to apologize to me, my grandpa, and his friends. “You’ll also have to do it live online, so everyone will know you're a goddamn phony!" Kay was convinced that Bonnie was an evil scammer who targeted the elderly. Orson stepped closer. "Just let her go, Kay." "We can't, grandpa! She might have targeted you because you're a famous painter." A famous painter? Orson? Bonnie realized the old man was a well-known painter. Her grandmother liked him a lot, and her grandfather was a hardcore fan. "Just leave her alone, all right?" Orson didn't want to make a scene. "But grandpa, she—" "I need to go to school soon. Are we doing this or not?" Bonnie interrupted them impatiently. Kay couldn’t believe Bonnie was still trying to act tough. "Spar with her, Milo. Don’t hold back, okay?" She had been going to tell him to go easy on Bonnie since she was a girl, but not anymore. 'You asked for this!' Kay thought. "Yes, ma'am." Milo cracked his neck, then his wrists, then his knuckles. He was huge and fierce, and looked so scary that anyone would have run away in fear. But Bonnie just frowned and said impatiently, "I'm in a hurry, okay? Just get on with it." "Don't you want to warm up first?" Milo asked, raising an eyebrow. "Not if you're my opponent." She was just stating a fact. She didn't mean it as an insult. "How dare you!" Upset, Milo threw his huge fist at Bonnie's face—