She was not called Xena for nothing. Her real name was Sheena, but her militant stance and aggressive attitude made her appear like Xena, the warrior princess. She was always ready for a fight, and no issue was too small for her to take up. The boys around admired her for her courage, and treated her as one of themselves. She had very few friends who were girls, because she could never imagine painting her face or wearing a feminine dress. Jeans and a T shirt, and she would be ready to take on any occasion.
In college, she was one of the rebel leaders. The glint in her sparkling eyes would intensify when she sensed a situation, and it was that glint that made her stand out from the run of the mill crowd! Xena's glint, as it was dubbed, was universally feared.
Till the day she met Rohit, the new boy in town. Their first meeting was a disaster, as they bumped into each other literally, as they were rushing to their classes.
"Ouch!" exclaimed Xena. "Can't you look where you are going?" The boy looked at her with his grey eyes and smiled. "Maybe you dazzled my eyes!"
No one had ever spoken to her like that. Normally Xena would have clenched a fist and shaken it in his face, with the choicest of abuses. This time, however, she stared back into the grey eyes and actually blushed. People around who had ducked out of sight, expecting her to explode, slowly poked their heads out, disbelief in their eyes.
"Rohit is my name, Rohit Patel!"
The spell was broken as Xena sheepishly said, "Hi, I'm Sheena!"
"Not Xena, the warrior maiden?" Rohit laughed. He had already heard of her. That light hearted laugh was her undoing. It did strange things to her heart, and evoked feelings that she had never felt before.
Overnight people noticed a change in their warrior princess. She began toning down her outfits to look slightly more feminine. Her abrupt manner softened, and there were times when she wished she knew how to act more like a girl. She would glance enviously at the pretty young things who sashayed around in frilly tops and stilettos. The one time she tried on high heels, she almost broke an ankle. Luckily, it was in the privacy of her bedroom, and so no one saw it.
Rohit was very popular among the boys and the girls. He spoke to everyone in a manner that indicated that they were all special to him. Sheena noticed the line of girls who crowded around him wherever he went. Her heart burnt with envy, every time he smiled at another girl.
He reserved his best smiles for Sheena, who blossomed under his knowing eye. The glint in her eye, the so-called Xena glint, had almost disappeared, and she was slowly turning into a more mellow and pleasant person. There were occasions when she still flared up, but these were getting rarer, much to the relief of those who had borne the brunt of her temper earlier.
Now she was head over heels in love with Rohit. However, he did not seem to notice the way she looked at him. After all, so many girls looked at him in the same manner.
College days were over all too soon for Sheena. Graduation Day was round the corner. How would she survive without Rohit? She determined to find out where he was planning to do his higher studies so that she could also make her way to the same institution.There would be no problem as he was a topper, and she was not a bad student herself.
The rumours incensed her. Rohit was seeing too much a fellow student named Monica, a meek milk sop of a girl, according to Sheena. What on earth did he see in her, she wondered scornfully. Monica was popular in her own way, and she toadied up to the teachers. She could not say 'Boo' to a goose, and Sheena had often wanted to shake her up because she was so insipid.
However, the rumours continued. Insidious little hints that were like a red rag to Sheena. She tried to talk to Rohit, but he brushed away her concerns with his brilliant smile, and flirted with her instead. When he did so, she was the happiest girl in the world. If only he would open up his heart to her! She would make him the happiest man in the world.
But as days went by, Rohit's interest in Monica started becoming more evident. The glint was back in Sheena's eyes, and she went back to warrior mode. Finally Rohit admitted that he was in love with Monica, and Sheena screamed blue murder.
"What do you see in her? Such a meek little creature... she is not worth your attention!" she screamed. Rohit looked a trifle embarrassed, as he took her to a quiet corner.
"Sheena, that is what I love about her. She is not meek. She is as serene as a flowing brook. She relaxes me and I do not have to be on my guard when I am with her. I do not need to spar with her. She will listen to my every word!" He turned to her, and added, "I can never think of you in that way. You are too strong, and you need someone as militant as you are. I will not be able to handle that my entire life!"
Sheena snorted impatiently. There was no way she was giving Rohit up without a fight. She went to Monica and tried to dissuade her from the relationship. Monica smiled her guileless smile, a smile that irritated Sheena. "We love each other, Sheena!" she simpered.
That was when Sheena decided to change tactics. If you can't beat them, join them! She befriended Monica, and ingratiated herself in her life. She knew how impressionable the other girl was. "We can be best friends, you know!" she said, putting a hand on the other girl's shoulder. Monica was flattered. Sheena normally had no patience with 'girly' girls like her!
The wedding was an event in itself. Rohit looked debonair and Monica stole many hearts with her angelic beauty. Sheena looked at them, hiding the envy in her heart. They looked so happy together. As she walked up to the stage, where the newly weds stood, receiving gifts and good wishes, Rohit looked at her and smiled. Her heart skipped a beat but she looked back at him, returning the smile.
"My best wishes to both of you! May you have a wonderful life together! Rohit, I have already given my gift to Monica!" She smiled at the bride. "Remember to use it wisely and well!" The glint shone out of her eyes, as she glanced at Rohit once last time before she got off the stage.
"What was that all about, Mona?" Rohit smiled down at his beautiful bride, when they had a moment to themselves.
"Don't you worry, Rohit! You'll find out soon enough!" whispered Monica, as she turned her glance on him. A moment passed, a frisson of tension snaked down his being as he looked into her eyes.
He turned faint, and it seemed as if he was looking at another person. For there was a glint in her eyes, a glint that unnerved him for it reminded him of someone else!