Ashlin Carter sits alone in her dark room somehow waiting for the rain to stop and for things to get better in her life. Everything has been falling apart lately for her at 21 and nothing to show for it. Well, she thought, not absolutely nothing. Indeed she had accomplished a lot, only to have lost it all overnight. And why wouldn't she, being the black sheep of her family all her life? Here's how it all happened:
3 years earlier:
"Please Melissa," she pleaded in history class on her college campus. "I been begging you all semester to be my friend. I have $50." It was just the end of class and they were getting ready for midterms.
"Go away or I'll be forced to turn you in for harassment!" replied Melissa with annoyance.
Ashlin, having barely survived high school with her insecurities and needing everyone to like her, was glad to make it into college, planning to major in business. Back in high school, she was a social butterfly. The popular kids, stoners, jocks, etc. all seems to accept her fine. However, there was a few kids who did not like her and to keep her friends, she cursed out teachers or skipped school instead. She also never admitted to anyone but herself how badly she felt about these few kids who never talked to her or anything. She figured once high school is over, she could be friends w/ everyone in college and at work.
In college, everybody talked to her but pretty, brunette Melissa. She could never seem to get Melissa to hang out with her. This time, she was forced to admit to needing Melissa like life preservers.
As Ashlin was passing through the library on the way to her car, Laura waved. Blinking back tears, she hurried along, pretending not to see her. Laura caught up with Ashlin and asked what was up. "None of your fvcking business!" she exploded. "Why don't you just hang with your BFF Melissa?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" answered Laura sharply.
"You! You make my entire life hell and if you don't leave me alone, I'll show you what hell is like!"
The entire room fell silent as everyone stared at the two of them. Laura stormed off in a huff as Ashlin yelled, "WTF are you guys looking at?" The next thing she knew, security was called and Ashlin was escorted off campus. So much for her freshman year. That wasn't even the first time she begged and bribed Melissa to like her or otherwise try to force friendship on Melissa. Previously, she had been physically violent with objects and cursed out everyone but Melissa. It came to her as a surprise that they finally called security. And so ended her school life.
Simultaneously, she held her job at JC Penney's since she was 16. Up until 5 months before the incident with Melissa at school, she never met anyone who didn't like her there. Everyone she met until then associated with her. However, things were slowly changing.
Carrie had transferred from another store right after the holiday season. Ashlin, being the social butterfly she's always been, was nice and friendly with Carrie just like she was with everyone else. However, Carrie didn't seem to want to talk to her. Initially, Ashlin though she had imagined it and if Carrie really did ignore her, she decided if she kept talking to Carrie, she'll (Carrie) come around. Just a few days before the incident on campus, Ashlin had asked at work, "Do you like it here?"
"Ashlin," Carrie replied. "We're not friends so it's really none of your business." And so, with the eight of the world on her shoulders, she soldiered on. And so begins the story of Ashlin Nicole Carter, daughter of Cindy Brady Carter.
As summer approached, Ashlin was finding it harder and harder to cope. Because she had been so busy pursuing Carrie, her work performance suffered. While she used to get an Exceed Expectation on her performance review, she now got a Below Expectation. "Ashlin," her supervisor Stacy scolded. "You need to step up or you will be issued disciplinary actions up to and including termination. Is that clear?" Ashlin nodded w/o a word and left the office.
Meanwhile, her relationship with her other coworkers suffered whereas she used to get along with them really well. Before, she was pleasant to be around. Now she was constantly moody and everyone walked on eggshells around her. One coworker even carried mace to work for the fear Ashlin would become violent.
During break a few days later, Carrie was having lunch with Lynn and Ashlin tried to join. Lynn was just about to motion Ashlin to sit down when Carrie said, "All these seats are taken. There's plenty of room…over there" as she pointed to a nearby empty table. Ashlin reported this snub to Stacy, who didn't have the time to deal with her "petty problems."
Later that day, while Ashlin was pricing clothes, Anne, who worked with her in Juniors Department, reminded her to put away ALL her returns the night before. Ashlin exploded, "I always get work done around here, bitch. Don't act like you know everything!"
Anne, stunned at the outburst, yelled back, "That's bc I do know everything. You know, I be covering for you while you were slacking off a lot just so you could stalk Carrie. I didn't report all the stuff you did to Stacy, including the way you begged Carrie and paid her $$$ to like you. And this is how you treat me?" She then paged management.
Incensed, Ashlin responded, "You know everything but you aren't even aware you're a stupid c**t." Stacy subsequently let the incident slide. Ashlin later clocked out and drove home. She didn't know how everything could just go downhill. At school, she had a busy social life and people used to accept her. Now no one would talk to her after Melissa hurt her. At work, she got along well with all her coworkers who liked being around her. Now these same people are ostracizing her after Carrie came into the scene.
Of course, people couldn't understand that Carrie hurt her. How could they understand her problems after she heaped a barrage of verbal abuse on them? Yet, she couldn't help it. Meanwhile, she complained to Cindy, who went, "Who said everyone had to like you? Not everybody likes me either."
"I can't help it. I can't stand it if even one person don't like me. That's who I am."
"Well, that's gonna have to change if you want to live a good life. I will not put up with anymore of this crap from you."
And so it occurred to Ashlin that no one will ever understand, much less stand by her. Aunt Marcia and Jan were successful. Her mother Cindy was successful. Not to mention all of their kids. How could anyone possible not like them? That's something she's yet to know.