Setptember 1988. Washington, DC. Erin Ashby was spending her week at a pharmaceutical conference, learning about the new fast-tracking regulations and other boring new powers of the FDA that were sure to make her job more difficult. Washington was cold. Why the hell wasn't she back in California? Why hadn't these assholes sprung for somewhere tropical to enjoy their week?
Still, the entire thing wasn't all bad, and at the end of it she did find herself a fling. Tall, blond to match her own, and, two months later and in a dingy hotel room in Los Angeles, she also found the extra present he'd given her as a goodbye.
June 22, 1989. Seaside, California. Michelle Grace Ashby came into the world with all the humor her mother expected of a child that was a surprise - with a surprise c-section. The girl had turned in the womb, and no one had thought to check that what they assumed was a head was actually an ass. "You came in mooning the world, Michelly," Erin once told her, and Michelle took that to heart - never really taking anything too seriously, and always enjoying the opportunities laid out for her.
Her mother traveled. That was never unexpected. She had two grandparents who loved her and let her sit on the beach-side of their juice bar, the girl digging her toes in the sand whie she pretended to do her math homework. Or there were the next door neighbors, the Regans, who she spent many an overnight with - even after it was past the age of "social acceptability" for coed sleepovers to occur.
March 2004. Fort Benning, Georgia. Colonel Richard Steele, on a visiting professor semester at the Army War College, had decided to take a day trip to Philadelphia. Enter Erin Ashby, fresh off a meeting at Glaxo for a regional sales rep interview. A dropped wallet led to drinks led to dinner led to numbers exchanged and Erin wondering if this could be a reality for her. A few months later, Rick proposed and Erin informed her parents and Michelle that they'd be moving to the Army base where Rick was stationed. Far be it for Michelle to stay behind with her grandparents, she said goodbye to Seaside and moved on with her life. Michelle Ashby became Michelle Steele, and that was the end of that.
September 2007. Los Angeles, California. Having attended what was arguably the best public high school in Georgia (at least on paper), coupled with this "best" still feeling painfully worse than what she'd experienced in California, Michelle floated to the top of what she called "a scum pond". A top-ten ranking and halfway decent SAT scores gave her the flexibility to essentially choose her own university. While she considered staying on the East Coast, she knew that she could never be as happy there. UCLA it was. It was close enough to her grandparents for them to come visit her if she wanted, but far enough away where she could have her distance.
January 2009. Washington, DC. Rick accepted a new position at the DoD with the incoming administration, and Michelle spent her entire winter break packing her bedroom in Georgia to have it moved to a house in Tysons Corner, Virginia, she'll never spend any real time in. It's not that it's not nice, it's just that it's a really long time to go home to visit.
May 2011. Los Angeles, California. Armed with a degree in History and a minor in comparative literature, Michelle wasn't sure where she wanted to go. Returning to DC was always an option to get herself re-situated, but she feared becoming one of those people who never advanced past "living with their parents". She found an extremely cheap apartment in the city she shared with four other people, many of whom she never saw, and called Rick (or "The Colonel", as she continues to call him to this day) for help in securing a job with a connection.
The office was beautiful. Law Office of Regina Serbelloni, Esq. Despite not having taken one credit hour of legalese, her research skills (and, she suspects, her ability to make a damn good cup of coffee) landed her a position in the firm as her clerk, where Slick and Dick (as they affectionately became known to her) became her second family. It didn't hurt to have Rafe around either when she felt obligated to keep tabs on her addict cousin. She'd turned into the mother figure of the Ashby family, and she wasn't quite sure when that had happened, nor was she sure if she even wanted that role.
March 2017. Seaside, California. A simple voicemail from her grandfather: "Chelie, please call us," turned into her finding out her grandmother had been admitted to Seaside Hospital after a massive stroke. Erin was already en route (from Florida, Rick having been reassigned to JSOC at MacDill in Tampa after the new administration took office) and Michelle had a train ticket booked in her name. The siblings understood. (Of course they'd done a background check on her, of course they'd probably done the math about the Ashby name + Seaside, though Michelle had never mentioned living where her current coworkers did.) Michelle had never planned to make it permanent. She lived with her grandparents, helping out - mostly at home, so gramps could still take care of the juice bar, but as the summer season started to kick into gear, Michelle knew she had to make a choice.
The siblings understood. It didn't make her feel any less awful, but they understood. She'd officially taken up the Ashby matriarch helm. She found someone to sublet her apartment for the rest of her lease, she packed her shit, and moved everything back to her childhood bedroom in Seaside, the only difference being a hell of a lot more shoes and a Jeep in the driveway. She's not used to the routine yet - she's not sure if she wants to be used to it - but she's hoping to get her life together soon.
The Connections (active): cconnr Puppy love friend, primary casualty of the SS Self-Destruct Upon Seaside Return daniellesimone Casualty of the SS Self-Destruct Upon Seaside Return kimcarpenter Casualty of the SS Self-Destruct Upon Seaside Return konnars Kindred of sorts. sarahatherton Future roommate, pretty lady troycolton Connor's older brother
The Connections (inactive): cvela Partner at Gin's firm; sorry, not for trade raiser the latter half of "Slick and Dick" serbell the former half of "Slick and Dick" teresase makes Rafe's life a living hell zaynes New Yawk cousin