The Beginning:  How Sheila Met Eamon


Chapter one in a DD love story that spanned decades.

Eamon and Sheila: The beginning

by patty
copyright 2003, all rights reserved.

The trip was shaping up to be fun. Sheila and Casey would be on the same team. The end-of-term wilderness challenge was approaching. Both girls were about to end their first year of college. Many things had come together for both of them. Both made the gymnastics team, in their freshman year, both were maintaining 4.0 or better grade point averages and they had nailed and were looking forward to summer jobs that every college gymnast would die for.

The final course and exam facing them in the school year was the Wilderness Challenge. Similar to Outward Bound, all of the Physical Education degree students were required to complete the two week experience as part of their course work. Casey was apprehensive, but Sheila was excited. Camping, rock climbing and hiking were activities she enjoyed. She could do without the canoeing. The water scared her for some unknown reason. Casey was not an outdoors person. She would tolerate the trip because she had to.

When the bus pulled in to the vacant summer camp that was to be their starting point it was early in the afternoon. The trip coordinators and group leaders were already there getting equipment and supplies organized. One of the first bits of business was to introduce the leaders to their 5 man crews. Sheila and Casey were matched with three guys from their class and assigned to Eamon.

Eamon was a very tall good looking guy with a cute cowboy accent. Hearing him speak was a novelty for the two Canadian girls. Sheila liked the look of him immediately, and then felt a little twinge of disappointment. He looked like the type who would go for the tall blond beauty queens. “He’s out of my league.” She thought and as she did her mood shifted. As if her thought had come from him as a rebuff to an advance from her, Sheila began to feel peeved with the man. He had yet to even say hello to her. Casey noticed her friend’s mood change and nudged her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

Sheila came out of her thoughts and turned to look at Casey. “Nothing,” she said. Casey knew that it wasn’t true.

The first two days of the course were spent at the camp. Classes in map reading, repelling and climbing rock face, paddling techniques, as well as fitness measurement filled the time. There was an astonishing amount to take in, and this was after all a course worth credit toward their degree.

Eamon was a good teacher. His skill with the things he was teaching was impressive. Sheila found herself watching him. In spite of the fact that he was friendly toward her, she found herself being rude to him. She nicknamed him “cowpoke,” and when she used it there was a sarcastic edge to her voice. She noticed quickly that she could get a rise out of him with it easily. At first he just gave her questioning looks, but eventually he commented, and it was clear he didn’t like it.

Eamon didn’t know what he had done to bother the girl. He was drawn to her immediately. She was a compact little bundle of energy, with a face that seemed to welcome people. He watched how the other students gravitated to her, and immediately liked the way she was at ease with them and them with her. She became the natural center of their team. He was awed by how unaware she was of her effect on the group. The way she seemed to be needling him was not sitting well. He would like to get to know her and was irked by her apparent animosity for him.

The last session of the first full day was a swimming endurance test. All participants, including the team leaders were required to swim a mile, and then when finished remain by the docks treading water for twenty minutes. Swimming was not an activity that Sheila enjoyed. She took the requisite swimming lessons as a child, and was capable, but she was out of her element in the water. The fact that her dense gymnast body sunk like a stone didn’t help. She had to work to stay a float during the last twenty minutes.

At the fifteen minute mark, she began to express doubts that she could finish to Casey. Casey did her best to reassure, but Sheila was winded and fed up. Eamon was nearby and heard her speak. He moved his long body easily over closer to the girls.

“Hang in there, you can make it, just a few more minutes,” he said, his voice gentle and encouraging.

“Butt out cowpoke. If I want to quit I can quit,” Sheila spit out, her teeth were chattering and she was shivering.

“If you quit you’ll wear a life vest at all times on the canoe leg of the trip,” Eamon advised her. He could see she was getting tired, and her shivering was using energy she might better put into getting through the last minutes. He decided he would keep her occupied to keep her mind off the time.

“Keep it up, you can do it,” he moved between Sheila and the dock.

“Butt out cowpoke, I said,” Sheila turned to face away from him.

“Come on Canuk you can do it,” he persisted, swimming around her so she was facing him again.

“Go away!” Sheila sputtered through her chattering teeth.

Casey backed away and started to laugh at her friend.

Sheila was close to exhaustion and it made her feel juvenile. She felt herself transition into ‘the whiner.’ “Buzz off I said, leave me alone, quit circling me like that, I’m not one of your cows,” she pushed water at him and twisted around.

He followed her so that she barely lost sight of his face.

“Buzz off!” She whined, continuing to twirl away.

“That’s it Canuk, you’re doing it,” he laughed.

“I’m going in,” Sheila stretched forward in a side sidestroke toward the dock. Eamon caught her around the waist as she eased past him. He pulled her back in front of him.

“Come on Canuk, it’s almost over,” he smiled. Keeping her focus on him was working, she had stopped shivering.

Sheila was almost ready to cry. The whiner was a part of her personality over which she had very little control. Once invoked it was a pretty sure spiral for it to take her back to when it had been a useful strategy. When she was a child and it got her what she wanted. When the whiner wasn’t fast enough at getting things, crybaby came out. She knew the physical sensation of that outcome. Her throat was tight and her eyes burned. She could not let herself cry, but she was getting way too close. If he made her cry, she’d kill him! Anger interceded to protect her from tears.

“Fuck off! Cowpoke, leave me alone!” Eamon didn’t get a chance to respond immediately, the whistle blew to indicate that time was up. Everyone made it through the test.

Eamon was right beside Sheila when she pulled herself up on the dock. He was up before she was, and he reached down and pulled her up by her wrist. When she was standing on the dock in front of him, he wouldn’t let her go until she looked at his face. His expression was all business. Not angry, but sending a clear message of displeasure. It made her shiver.

“Cuss me again Canuk and you’ll regret it. Is that clear young lady?” he spoke the words so that only she could hear them, but in her mind it was as if he’d yelled at her. The warning he issued had power. Power, that shot through her and clicked awake something deep and secret within her. The sensation was electric, sending sparks shooting through her whole skin surface. A tingle lingered in her hands and her groin. Her mind formed a retort out of the substance of her secret.

‘Why what’ll you do? Spank me?’ her mind hissed. She did not say the words. Instead she gave him a saucy look, pulled her wrist out of his hand and walked down the dock away from him. Mindful of his eyes on her back, Sheila tossed her head, and put a cocky little swish into her stride.

Eamon watched her go. Electric energy surged within him as well. The little spitfire was getting under his skin in a major way. He made up his mind that he wanted to get to know her. He also wanted to shake sense into her. Her saucy attitude made her a challenge, something Eamon enjoyed. He shook his head as he thought back over her antics in the water. He was just trying to help her, and she carried on like he was doing something to upset her.

Casey was beginning to catch on to her friend. Sheila was never one to flirt or play up for the guys. From Casey’s perspective though, it was obvious that the tall Texan had Sheila off balance. She chuckled to herself as she watched the interchange on the dock. “This just might be a fun adventure after all,” she thought.

“He’s got your number Sheila,” Casey warned when she caught up to her friend. The tone of her voice held just the hint of a tease.

“Yeah? So?” Sheila hissed. She wasn’t in the mood to banter. At that moment her mind was a muddle of confused thoughts. She was embarrassed at having behaved so childishly, angry with herself for letting the man get to her, frustrated that there was no way he’d ever think of her as more than a kid now and incensed that he was dismissing her because she wasn’t a tall cheerleader type. The whiner and the cry baby were still alive under her skin. Sheila could feel them in the beating of her heart, churning of her stomach and tightness of her throat. Her teeth began to chatter.

Wrapping herself in the towel she grabbed with her bundle of clothes, Sheila turned and headed to the cabins. “Come on, I’m freezing.” Casey laughed and followed her friend.

Orienteering and rock climbing were easy for Sheila. Her light and flexible gymnast’s body had no trouble negotiating the crevices and odd angles of natural foot and hand holds on the bluffs and rock face. Her innate artist’s eye and spatial acuity made her a natural when it came to interpreting the trail maps and recognizing the landmarks and topographic features. It was the water skills she had trouble with.

Most of the afternoon of the third day was spent on the water, or near it. Canoe safety and paddling techniques were probably easy enough to master physically, but Sheila had to contend with the added element of her fear and dislike for the water. The fact that Eamon seamed to be making a point of singling her out, and commenting on her every move and mistake didn’t help things either.

The first on the water tasks seemed more like games to most of the members of the team. There were six team members including Eamon, and the next day they would head out in three canoes. Eamon’s first goal was to pair off al the members so that their skill levels would be best matched. Initially his manipulations of pairs met with resistance, but when he explained the rationale for matching strong with weak so that no team held up the others, he was able to get cooperation.

Paddle strokes and technique occupied a little over an hour. There were three main strokes taught and practiced. Each member was evaluated, and Eamon was able to get a good feel for the relative strengths of each.

The first of the water safety exercises was gunnel bobbing. Each pair paddled their canoe out into waist high water, and without tipping, maneuvered so that they stood face to face on opposite ends of the canoe with their feet on the gunnels. The object once that balance was achieved was to bob the canoe ends in opposition without tipping, or falling off. An activity that was much easier said than done, since the balance of skill worked out so that the larger team members ended up matched with smaller members.

The point of the exercise according to Eamon was for each pair to get a feel for the balance and weight of their craft along with their partner’s movements. What ever it was supposed to accomplish, for all but Sheila, who was the lightest and smallest, and whose skills were weakest it was a hilariously fun activity.

Of course it made sense that she was paired with the member with the strongest skills, and that was Eamon. He also happened to be the largest and heaviest, so her challenge was more than her nerves. And her nerves were on edge for more reasons than her lack of comfort on the water.

“Come on Canuk, tuck that butt in! Keep your weight on your toes. Use your quads. Come on head up, eyes front. Use your arms for balance not your rear! Come on, tuck your butt under! ” Eamon repeated this series of short commands in various combinations at least 50 times over the next 20 minutes. All in all they both spent more time in the water than on it, although Sheila was finally able to find some balance, and they were able to bob for the 25 strokes Eamon asked of each team.

By the time they’d done it though Sheila was fuming mad. Being the brunt of jokes was not something she appreciated. She was a good player, and she loved good fun when she was in the middle of it, but that afternoon, at least for those twenty minutes she’d been more the joke than the joker. For his role in putting her there, Eamon’s hide was quickly accumulating gouges in her mind. If she’d been near enough to him the last time she hit the water with her legs flat, she might well have used her nails to remove a few rakes of flesh from his skin. The backs of her legs were flaming red from all the slap hard impacts she had made with the smooth surface of the lake.

The next challenge was physically almost as hard, but for Sheila it was the worst. Out in deep water, the teams set about deliberately tipping, rolling and then righting and reentering their canoes. There was almost no way to do this without becoming fully immersed in the water, and Eamon seemed to make a game out of hefting his weight, so that she was under before she felt or could anticipate the movement. When he started to tip them almost as soon as she was back on board, before she could really get her bearings, the whiner and the crybaby began to fight her for control of her mind and body.

The possibility that the crybaby was going to win became all too real, and finally when her eyes and nose burned with water forced into them by another unexpected submersion, Sheila came up fighting mad.

“You sorry mother fucking son of a bitch! Would you at least let me catch my breath and get the water out of my eyes so I can focus and see the God damned mother fucking water before you do that again!” she screamed. “God Damned ham brained jock ass hole!”

Eamon had been working to get a reaction out of her. He could tell she was less than comfortable on the water, and part of his strategy, although not all of it, was to get her physically tired and mentally distracted enough that she’d let go of her fears. He certainly did manage to distract her from her fears. When he burst out laughing, Sheila turned, and started swimming for shore.

It was too far for her to make it as tired as she was, but Eamon was relatively sure she’d be OK until he could retrieve the paddles and follow her. When he did reach her, Sheila was shivering, and running out of steam. The bow of the canoe passed her on the right, and then the end with Eamon in it steadied and kept with her pace.

“Up you get now. In the boat,” Eamon chuckled.

“Leave m-m-me alon-n-nnnn!” Sheila spit into the water, her jaw shuddered around her chattering teeth. Eamon could see as her strokes became shorter, that she was winded, and would not last much longer before she might start to cramp up. Her lips were blue also, letting him know her blood flow was starting to shunt to conserve heat.

“In the boat now! No argument!” Eamon’s voice boomed, the authority in it designed to pre-empt any further stupidity.

For an instant, as Sheila whirled around in the water so she could look at him directly, she contemplated defiance. His expression and her absolute fatigue won out though, and she relented. She was going to get in the boat under her own steam though, and when Eamon reached to help her, she pulled her arm away.

“I c-c-can d-do it-t-t!” she stuttered, and she caught the side to pull up. It was her turn to tip the balance though, since Eamon was leaning toward her. Her weight with his worked to launch the canoe out from under him. Eamon fell in, and Sheila ended up surfacing under the overturned canoe.

She giggled just a little, but the cold made her refocus quickly. Eamon got the canoe upright, and himself back in it, in just a minute or so. Twice more Sheila’s clumsy efforts tipped it again. Ordinarily, turn about would be fair play, but at this stage of the game, the humor and novelty was being lost on her completely. After she refused his help for a fourth time, and her heavy muscled efforts threatened to tip them again, Eamon interceded. As Sheila’s shoulders cleared the gunnel, Eamon reached down and grabbed the butt of her swim suit, and heaved her onto the floor of the canoe at his feet. He had to shift his weight quickly a few times to maintain balance, but this time the craft stayed upright.

Sheila grumbled and cussed under her breath. The whole experience had been enough stress, that she barely reacted to the intimate handling, the wedgie and the somewhat embarrassing exposure that Eamon’s maneuver produced. She concentrated on righting herself, and trying to control the now vigorous shivering and tooth chattering that her body was doing.

They made their way back to shore. Sheila managed to utter a few choice expressions through the tension of her shuddering jaw; otherwise there was silence between them until they got to shore.

“I think you’re going to need to keep a life vest on for most of the trip Sheila,” Eamon announced as she helped him lift the canoe over to the racks.

“N- n- n-oo f-f-f-fuckk-k-k-ing w-w-ay!” Sheila stuttered. “I d-did the sw-wim! I kn-now-w the rul-l-lessss!”

“May be, but you don’t have the confidence in the water that you’ll need if we do capsize in the rough.” Eamon tried to reason.

“L-l-l-loook-k you assss h-h-olllle! You del-l-l-libbberat-t-tlllly jerkkked m-m-m-e aroundddd outtt t-t-there! I’ll bbbbe j-j-j-ust f-f-fine!” Sheila dropped her end of the canoe, and turned on him, her hands on her hips. Her movement was too fast, and she stumbled sideways. That caused Eamon to drop his end also, only his tipped and landed square on his instep.

“God Damn!” he exclaimed, and to keep from falling, he hopped off to the side. Pain from the sharp heavy impact of the hard metal gunnel shot through him. It was all he could do to hold in a blood curdling scream.

At first Sheila was concerned, but in only a few seconds she was overcome by laughter. In another few seconds, she was doubled over rolling in the rugged grass, her sides aching from a combination of laughter and shivering.

Her team mates gathered around, and joined in the laughter, at the same time as the helped Eamon stow the canoe, and Sheila get to her feet.


The next day when they set out, Sheila and Eamon’s interactions had deteriorated to short commands and surly retorts. If their moods weren’t bad enough, the weather turned warm, and the wind dropped to nothing. Mosquitoes, gnats and the lingering black flies were torment any time the group neared shore. Since there were three portages, and only one stretch of open lake on the first leg of their route, the torment was more or less constant.

The first discussion centered on whether Sheila would be required to wear a life vest when they reached white water after lunch. It became somewhat heated, and Sheila was glad she was in front, and by necessity had to carry on her side of it with her back to Eamon. While she sensed that she was pushing buttons, she could not see his reactions. It was a very good thing, she thought, that he could not see her expressions. Distain, only barely approached an apt description for what they would have conveyed, if he could have seen them.

That subject closed with the final outcome unresolved. Eamon decided she would wear the vest, and Sheila decided hell would freeze first.

The next revolved around Sheila taking the rear on the next paddle. She was adamant that she was not ready. Things might not have escalated the way they did if she’d actually come out and said that. As it was, she conveyed her reluctance with flip comments and sarcasm. Most of her remarks centering on his size, thick jock ham brain, and some other less than flattering descriptors.

Behind her, Eamon was fast reaching his limit. It was one thing for team members to joke and tease, but the little brat in front of him was well past that into outright defiance. She would have to learn to do as she was told, if not for her grade, then for the safety and progress of the team. A number of options to force obedience and compliance with his authority were cycling in his mind. One of them was to come down on her publicly with thunder and rage, and make damned sure she understood that she may well be repeating this course next year if she didn’t smarten up and shape up. The other was less direct, but definitely more demonstrative and physically satisfactory. He would like nothing more than to bare her boney little ass, and flip her over his knee for a paddling she’d never forget. Every cuss and comment that she made over the next two hours, made that prospect more and more attractive.

When they lifted out for the second portage, Eamon was fuming. There was brief discussion about lunch, and the decision was made to have it in the water on the other end of the hike. It would only be four miles.

Eamon and Sheila pulled up the rear. Their relative difference in size obligated Eamon to carry the front so that he could see a head of them from under the canoe. Just a mile into the trek, the subject of position on the next paddle came up again. There would be some white water, but it was only class 2 to 3. Eamon was adamant that Sheila should take the rear. That she could handle the steering if she’d keep her mind on the strokes instead of her fear of the water.

Something about the patronizing way he talked about this whole thing being about her fear of water hit Sheila’s last patience nerve and she lost it.

“Look you mother fucking shit for brains jock! I told you no and I mean no!” she screeched. As she did, she stopped short, lifted, and then heaved her end of the canoe onto the ground.

That action occurred so quickly, that Eamon could not react. He took two more steps forward, while the canoe dropped behind him and came to an abrupt stop. As Sheila watched the chain reaction, she was amazed that his head was still on when his shoulders appeared from under the canoe.

The look of black burning rage in his eyes was instantly terrifying. Sheila didn’t have time to fully appreciate the shock of electric arousal that pulsed through her. She felt it, and reacted to it in a split second after she saw Eamon’s face, his torso shift, and his hands reach for his belt.

“Oh Shit!! She squealed, and she took off at a dead run back the way they’d just come.

She didn’t get very far, when Eamon was on top of her, and she was falling over a dead tree that crossed the path. His belt lit a line of fire through her denim shorts. Several licks whipped into her, before Sheila was able to catch her breath and cry out for him to stop.

Eamon whipped her furiously a good thirty or forty licks. Sheila was sure she had never felt anything so painful in her entire life. As angry and afraid as she’d been only moments before, now she was only aware of the flaming stripes the belt put into her, and how desperately she needed to get away from it. A couple of the licks branded her bare legs, but most set fire to her butt.

“Oh God help me! Stop!” she screamed.

Thankfully, Eamon did. “Are you going to do what you’re told?” he asked her.

“OK! I will!” Sheila promised.

“Alright! Get up!” Eamon stepped back, and started to put his belt back on.

When Sheila stood up, she backed away, and eyed Eamon warily. She saw the blood oozing from a gash just below his hairline. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean that!” she whispered.

“Oh I’m sure you didn’t,” Eamon growled, “And you’d better not try anything like it again.”

“OK,” Sheila nodded. There was absolutely no remnant of the anger or animosity she’d been feeling. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was feeling, but for some reason the words second chance came to her mind.

As it turned out, that thought was an understatement. The relationship between the two calmed almost immediately. Incredibly there was no uneasy truce either; instead there was an almost immediate understanding and recognition. What had made it so easy to get on each other’s nerves turned out to be a connection that would ultimately result in their lifelong partnership. Eamon and Sheila would marry only 11 months to the day after this event.