Layla is a greedy, grouchy, selfish, abrasive, heartless young lady whose only goal in life is becoming as rich as possible and will do anything and everything to do it. At least, that's what she tries to tell everyone, herself included. Layla's father was a con man who built a career out of ripping off even shady characters by even shadier means, and she desperately wants to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, or VERY fortunately, depending on your perspective, 'ol Dad was a softhearted type who taught Layla more about being a good person than she'd ever care to admit. For example, he put her in charge of a project to raise a little boy named Trigger in an underground bunker, teaching Layla all about the responsibilities of being a big sister and stuff. All this "being a good person" stuff managed to bite Layla in the butt, though, when her father unexpectedly died. Because Dad's legal affairs were a total mess (as will happen when you make a living doing blatantly illegal things), a Nitpicker named Ichabod was brought in to sort things out. Although Layla was supposed to inherit the family business, Ichabod determined she was too scrupulous and moral for such an endeavor, resulting in her being kicked to the curb without a dime. Thankfully, Ichabod had also gotten Trigger kicked out of his bunker and felt sorry enough to offer him free passage off the planet, and Trigger wouldn't leave without Layla.
As you can see, Layla's got plenty of reasons to be a grump (and we haven't even gotten into the rocky relationship with her mother), and she'll gladly exercise them whenever possible. But deep, deep, DEEP down, there's a much nicer person trying not to be noticed. She clearly loves Trigger very much and will be quite selfless about protecting him. In fact, ANY cute little boy will bring out that Big Sister Instinct.
Also, there are far more lines Layla won't cross than she'd care to admit, and she enjoys the company of other far more than she'd ever dare let on. It's just that she ALSO hates being out of control of a situation, or showing anything that even looks like vulnerability. Layla's been surrounded by a lot of bad people in her life, so she's very, VARY wary of anything that might hurt her.
Q: Wait a minute, some of that recap stuff sounds a little different than what actually happened in the early pages. Where was that stuff about Ichabod sorting out Layla's Dad's will?
A: Um... in my head? Yeah, I'm pulling a retcon here, because those early pages are, well, kinda bad. I didn't have a good feel for any of the characters yet, so a lot of that stuff doesn't fit with what later comics established (like, say, ANYTHING about Layla's father). One way or another I'm gonna fix this stuff in the comic itself, but for now this dinky little FAQ will have to do.
Q: I know you said not to ask about character age, but is Layla supposed to be older than Trigger? Sometimes it seems like she is, but... well, they ARE the same height and all.
A: Somebody read this page before reading Trigger's page, huh? Yes, Layla's several years older than Trigger, but it took me a while to figure that out. By the time I realized their backstory didn't really make sense unless Layla was older, I'd already gotten used to drawing them the same height. So, it suddenly became cannon that Layla's kinda short. (And that's why I avoid nailing down details like ages, it makes them easier to change)
Q: Why does Layla act like she's got no more family, even though we clearly see her Mom is still alive?
A: Layla wasn't on good terms with her Mom even BEFORE she had the business taken away from her. When good 'ol Mom didn't exactly leap to her defense, that ended any relationship that might have been there.
Q: Layla really seems to care about Trigger. Like, REALLY care about him. Is there anything more going on there?
A: Still didn't read Trigger's FAQ, did ya? Nope, Layla's feelings for Trigger are one hundred percent of the "like a brother" variety. Remember, she was present for the kid's dirty diapers. That's not the sort of thing that makes Layla think "potential romantic interest".
Q: She also seems to really like Alphonse-
A: Um, eew. Don't even finish that.
Q: Well, what about Tabitha? They seem to get along really, REALLY well.
A: No more shipping questions.
Q: How weird should I find it that a teenage girl was basically running a criminal empire?
A: Not very. At least not the teenage part (the criminal part, that's a whole other matter). In this universe, positions of authority held by what we would consider "kids" don't seem to be unusual at all. Maybe future education has advanced to the point that people can be considered "grown up" much sooner than they are now (By the way, have you noticed that no one ever seems to go to school in this universe?) Or maybe human civilization has decayed to such a point that actual "grown ups" are no more mature than your average seven year old, so giving ACTUAL seven year olds lots of power and responsibility isn't any worse. Now, it IS true that Ichabod talks down to Layla the way a modern-day adult would to his junior, but Ichabod does lots of odd things.