After lunch, I met my dad on the mats. I was a lot more nervous than I was all those years ago but it felt good getting back into it. We did our normal stretching and warm up routine as we laughed and talked about old times. After a few minutes, it felt like I had never left and we picked up right where we stopped. My dad helped me wrap my hands and feet and soon we were going at it just like we always had. He would kick and I would block him then I would throw a punch and would quickly move out of the way. We continued sparring as people started crowding around the mats. They were mesmerized at our movements. No one could ever match my dads skills, except me. The only thing I could never do was beat him. We soon got into our normal rhythm but then I started feeling those pesky tingles going up and down my arms. The hairs all over my body began to stand up and it wasn't long before I started feeling antsy. We kicked and punched, lunged and ducked each other but my body felt like it was about to be torn apart. My nose picked up scents from everywhere and my eyesight starting enhancing as if I could see my fathers movements before he made them. Soon, I was punching and kicking with such force and speed that I almost couldn't control it. Suddenly, my father was on the mat pinned down with my foot on his neck. Everyone gasped and then a sudden wave of cheers erupted from the crowd.
OMG. I pulled my foot away and dropped to the ground where my father was and asked "Dad are you ok? I'm so sorry. I don't know what got into me. Please say you're ok."
As I brushed his hair from his face and began checking his body for injuries I heard a gruff laugh come from his lips. I looked up at him as he was giving me a surprised look and said "Well that was something. Anna how did you do that? You were so quick and agile like you've been trying with the guard. I thought you told me you haven't sparred since you left."
I grabbed his hand and lifted him off the ground. "I haven't dad. I honestly don't know what came over me. I'm so sorry." I gave him a big hug and was glad to feel him squeeze me back. Realizing people were still standing around watching we turned to the crowd and waved.
"It seems you've got some fans. Or rather very surprised spectators who have come to see me get defeated." He chuckled as a man with white hair and a long beard came forward to shake his hand.
"Well, well, well. I never thought I'd see the day when Robert Steine got beat on the mat." Turning to me he said "Hello young lady, my name is Frank. I am an old friend of your fathers."
I extended my hand and said "Anna Steine. Good to see you again Frankie."
His eyes gleamed and his lips curled into a huge smile and he said "Anna banana? Is that really you?" He pulled me in for a big hug lifting me into the air and twirling me around. He set me down and grabbed my by my shoulders with pain in his eyes saying "I never thought we would see you again."
"I never thought I would ever be able to come back but now with everything that happened I decided it was way past time."
"Well if you need anything while you're here, please don't hesitate to ask." He gave me another hug and we all headed off the mats.
"Anna, you were awesome out there. Truly. I don't think I've ever seen you spar like that."
"Thanks dad. I don't know how to explain it but I felt as if it wasn't me out there. Like something else was driving me to fight."
"Well whatever it was you better never let it go. You could be such an amazing asset to the guard, if you ever apply again."
"I don't belong to a pack anymore and besides dad, no one would ever accept me without my wolf." I said with tears in my eyes.
He pulled me close and said "Anna, she will be back. I can feel it. When you find your true mate, she won't be able to stay away. But I promise you will find her again."
I didn't know if my dad was just trying to make me feel better or if he was serious about me finding my mate. Either way I was a lot happier than I have been in a long time. Maybe coming home was what I needed. I was sure going to miss them when I left but I knew I would be able to visit anytime I wanted. We headed back home, stopping occasionally to be congratulated and introduced to people. We ran into old classmates of mine and their families. I couldn't help but smile at all the old familiar faces and hoping one day I could find someone to love and start a family with. But my thoughts always travels back to Ryder and his deception. Did he always know I was a Royal? But how could he, I didn't even know. Would anyone ever truly love me or would they just want me for my heritage? It hurt to know that I may never be able to fully trust anyone.
We spent the rest of the week making memories and being a family again. My parents really liked Val and made her feel welcome. I knew she appreciated it especially with her past but soon we were packing to head back to our real lives. I knew it would hurt to leave again but I knew this time it was on my own terms.