Erin was divorced from an abusive husband. She had managed to stay in the relationship long enough for kids to arrive, but eventually she saw the light and dumped him. In her late twenties, she had already had her share of bad luck in the relationship department with her ex, but she never whined about it. She just charged forward and dealt head-on with life.
She first came on board some time during the Celia fiasco, had left, and then returned to relative calm in the store after Celia’s departure. She was a good person, easy to get to know, and had a ready smile that lit up everything around her.
The two of us would go riding together every Monday – she on her Sportster and I on my bagger. We discovered that we both had an unhealthy addiction to sushi, so I would search out the best sushi restaurants – of which there were many – and usually we’d arrange to have a quick bite to eat before she had to get home to round up the kids from school.
Erin and I had become friends and nothing more, since she was by far too young for me to have much interest in beyond friendship. At some point, Sonny must have noticed that the two of us were spending some time together. In any case, Sonny and his wife invited her for lunch on one of our riding Mondays, although I suspect that it was mainly Sonny that had invited Erin for lunch, and his wife just happened to come along because she wanted to know what the hell was going on.
Off the two of us went to meet up with Sonny and wifey for “the small family business lunch”. It was uneventful, but I suspected that Sonny was up to his old tricks, and now Erin would be in for a passel of shit from him.
I never said a word to her. That’s not my way. I figured that she could take care of herself with Sonny, having dealt with and dumped an abusive husband. After all, just because she was young didn’t mean that she wasn’t tough.
Finally, Sonny made his move on Erin by inviting her for the “it’s a small family business and we like to take our employees out for dinner” routine. She had the prescience to drive herself down the hill to the restaurant, and, once there, learned that Sonny’s wife wouldn’t be showing up.
It would be Erin and Sonny, alone.
Apparently, most of the meal went well enough, but at some point towards the end Sonny began to feign drunkenness and started running his slimy hands all over Erin, much to her disgust. Once she extricated herself from Sonny and his unwanted advances, Erin drove herself home, dismayed by what had happened.
The next day, Sonny apologized profusely for his misbehavior, and claimed that he was drunk and not himself. Erin and I had a laugh over that. I should have known better.
We had laughed too soon.
It wasn’t long before Sonny was doing his trash-talking routine to anyone who would listen about Erin’s inability to properly do her job. Mind you, if what he said was true, I fully understood why she might be feeling a little down about her job: every day she had to come in to work to face her sexual abuser.
The shop’s General Manager, ever the complicit one in Sonny’s workplace affairs, eventually fired Erin.