Layla arrived in Llanview in 2005 to spend some time with her older sister Evangeline, and immediately got a job working at Capricorn for Antonio Vega. She soon realized that Antonio was in trouble -- he desperately wanted to keep custody of his daughter, Jamie, but was in a brutal custody battle with Jaime's grandfather R.J. Gannon. Making matters worse, Antonio's girlfriend, Jessica, was frequently absent. Layla and Antonio hatched a plan where Layla would pretend to be Antonio's girlfriend to increase his chances of gaining custody. It worked, and Antonio was awarded custody. Although things went nowhere between Layla and Antonio, she soon became devoted to his daughter, Jamie, who began looking upon her as sort of a maternal figure. Antonio and Layla were soon over altogether, even though she continued working at Capricorn and gained a new best friend in Adriana Cramer. She began a flirtation with Vincent Jones, an old friend of assistant district attorney Hugh Hughes and boxing manager of Evangeline's boyfriend Cristian Vega. But Layla ended things with Vincent when she found out he had been behind Cristian losing a big fight.
As 2007 got underway, Layla and Adriana co-founded a fashion line, named Exposed. They soon hired an attractive former baseball player, Tate Harmon, to model the male underwear line. Layla was devastated when Evangeline went into a coma following a racially-motivated gas attack. She, along with Vincent, became close again, and eventually learned that Tate was behind the race attacks. Tate held Layla and Vincent, along with Adriana and Rex Balsom, hostage on the rooftop of the Palace Hotel. They were however rescued by police officer Talia Sahid before Tate could be any fatal harm to the group. Layla was there for Adriana when she tried to keep her engagement to Rex from falling apart after Rex's childhood love Gigi Moraso returned to town with a son who Adriana soon learned was Rex's. But the wedding was a fiasco and soon Adriana left for Paris, only to return when Rex was shot and near death. Layla, meanwhile, suffered her own heartache when she caught Vincent cheating on her with another woman. She flirted briefly with Michael McBain, who was estranged from his wife Marcie, but it was clear that Michael still loved Marcie.
Layla helped comfort her roommate, Sarah Roberts, after her boyfriend Cristian married another woman to help her avoid being deported. A heartbroken Sarah left town, and Cristian's marriage quickly fell apart when it was revealed that his newlywed wife, Vanessa Montez, had a history of entrapping men. Layla lashed out at Cristian for dumping a good girl like Sarah. A new police officer in town, Oliver Fish, took a liking to Layla, but she seemed uninterested in him. During the Go Red Ball in February 2009, Layla brushed off Fish's requests for a dance, explaining that she was too busy helping to run the event. Fish ended up having a one-night stand with Stacy Morasco, and told Layla the next day that he had met someone else and was no longer available. Layla felt rejected. While visiting her sister Evangeline in Maryland, Layla overheard Cristian talking to Evangeline about his recent troubles and telling her that he would always love her and was waiting for her to get better. Layla berated Cristian for being a player, while Cristian lashed out at Layla for being half the woman her sister was and for driving men away. Layla reacted bitterly at him in return, fearful he may be right. She answered a personal ad and was pleased when a handsome man arrived for her date, but the man was turned off when Layla and Cristian got into yet another argument right in front of him. The man said it looked to him like Layla and Cristian were hot for each other. Layla and Cristian got locked in the diner's freezer briefly, and again got trapped together in a sauna, getting into shouting matches each time.
When Layla's roommate, Talia Sahid, was found murdered by a serial killer, Cristian broke the news to Layla. Layla was devastated, but Cristian helped her get through her grief. In the process, their icy relationship began to thaw. When Layla reluctantly decided to move back to her parents' home in Maryland because she was out of work and couldn't find roommates, Cristian suggested that he move in with her so she could stay in Llanview. Layla was hesitant but agreed. They put out an ad for a third roommate and the only person to answer the ad was Oliver Fish, the police officer who had tried to date Layla briefly in the past. Layla wasn't interested in having Fish move in, but she changed her mind after he proved himself as a handyman and after Cristian said he thought it was a good idea. Oliver and Layla were in the park one day when Kyle Lewis jogged past, asking for Oliver's help to get him out of blackmailing charges. Oliver brushed him off and later explained to Layla that he knew Kyle from college. Fish then asked Layla if she would consider going on a date with him, and despite her reservations she agreed. Layla overheard Cristian warn Fish that he would have to deal with Cristian if he disappointed Layla, and Layla was pleased that she made Cristian jealous. Cristian was bartending at Capricorn when Layla and Fish showed up for another date. Layla and Cristian began sparring again. Layla was pleasantly surprised when Fish spontaneously kissed her.
While on a date at the Palace Hotel, Layla noticed the male waiter checking out Oliver and pointed it out to Fish, who seemed to get flustered. Layla explained that it didn't mean Oliver was gay, and just then Oliver said he wanted to continue the date back at the apartment. Their evening was interrupted by Cristian, however, who told Fish that Kyle had told him that Oliver wasn't who he seemed to be. Fish said Kyle was just jealous because he wanted Layla for himself. Based on Fish's advice, Layla got a job at the Llanview Police Department as Detective John McBain's assistant. She told Fish she didn't want anyone at work to know they were dating and got angry when Fish quickly spread the word. Fish explained that he was just proud of Layla and wanted to fit in with the rest of the guys. But when Layla tried to get intimate, Fish backed off, prompting Layla to ask Fish if he was gay. Fish denied it, noting he had slept with Stacy, and accused Layla of not taking their relationship seriously. Layla apologized, but then Cristian arrived home and told Layla that something had gone down between Kyle and Fish while they were in college. Layla told Cristian to mind his business, and she and Fish tried to get back on track.
In August, Cristian oversaw Kyle and Oliver kissing in the ally behind the Buenos Dias Café. Although Oliver denied that the kiss was mutual, Cristian could tell Fish was lying and told him to come clean to Layla, or he would be forced to. Fish made several attempts to tell Layla the truth but chickened out. After putting Layla on the phone with his parents, who were excited to talk to the girl dating their son, Fish and Layla headed to her bedroom and had sex for the first time. After learning that Fish and Layla had sex, Cristian lashed out at Fish for not telling Layla the truth, but Fish denied being gay, saying he had only experimented with Kyle in college. Layla and Cristian both were duped into leaving their apartment one night so Stacy, desperate to conceive a child she could pass off as Rex's, could attempt to make the moves on Oliver. When Layla and Cristian arrived home they found Stacy kissing Oliver, but Fish explained that Stacy threw herself on him, and Layla believed him.
One day at the gym, Layla met a man named Nick Chavez and proceeded to work out next to him. Nick told her about this man he was seeing and how he was still hung up on his ex from college, who was back in the closet and a police officer. When Layla learned Nick's man was Kyle Lewis, she put two and two together and figured out that Fish was Kyle's ex....the one in the closet! Layla went to Cristian with what she had learned, and Cristian finally confessed that he had seen Oliver and Fish kissing but kept quiet because he didn't want Layla to get hurt. When Fish arrived home, Layla demanded that Oliver admit the truth. Under intense questioning, Fish admitted that he and Kyle were together in college but denied he was gay. When Layla brought up the recent kiss between Oliver and Kyle, Oliver claimed that Kyle had pushed himself on him. Layla refused to believe it and begged Oliver to admit to himself and to her that he is gay. But Fish refused, forcing Layla to order him out of the house. The next morning, after having a drunken one-night stand with Stacy, Fish returned to the apartment and admitted to Layla and Cristian that he was gay. Fish volunteered to move out, but Cristian and Layla sympathized with him and asked him to stay.
Fish explained to Layla and Cristian how his parents would never accept that he's gay, especially his retired cop father. When his dad called to say that he and Fish's mother were on their way to Llanview to meet his girlfriend, Layla encouraged Fish to come out to his parents. Cristian even bought him a "how to" book about coming out to your parents. When Fish's parents arrived a day ahead of schedule, they were surprised to learn that Fish's girlfriend was black. As Fish prepared to tell his parents the truth, his father discovered the book by accident and assumed that Cristian was gay. He excoriated Cristian for leading a gay lifestyle and told Fish that he would need to move out of the apartment, which prompted Fish to reveal the truth to his parents. Layla and Cristian stood by helpless as Fish's parents turned their back on their son and walked out of his life.
Layla agreed to be Cristian's date to Todd and Téa's wedding but failed to see that Cristian wanted more than just to be friends. In October 2009, Layla was shocked when Cristian kissed her. Though she had feelings for him, Layla told Cristian they couldn't date because it would be like cheating on her comatose sister, Evangeline. Cristian tried to convince Layla that Evangeline would want them to move on, but Layla was undeterred. Cristian agreed to move out of their apartment. After talking it over with Fish's boyfriend Kyle, however, Layla decided she didn't want to give up a chance at happiness and told Cristian she wanted to pursue a relationship with him. The two had a romantic dinner together at Layla's apartment that concluded with them making love for the first time. While working out at the gym, Layla was hit on by the new guy in town, Robert Ford, but she politely told her admirer that she was already seeing someone. When Ford needed a place to stay, Layla, Cris and Fish invited him to move in with them.
Cristian and Layla's budding romance soon was put to the ultimate test when Cris' high school sweetheart, Jessica Buchanan, began to make a play for him after suffering memory loss and believing she was still in high school. Cristian tried to explain to Jessica that they both had moved on with their lives and that he was in love with another woman, but Jessica refused to take no for an answer and set out to win Cristian over. As Jessica began inserting herself into Cristian's life, Layla found herself getting more and more insecure and started to worry that Cristian was starting to have feelings for Jessica again. Layla secretly hoped that Cristian would propose to her, but kept getting disappointed when he didn't. Layla and Cristian had an intense argument after she discovered that Cristian was holding on to one of the notes he had given Jessica back in high school, but Cristian assured Layla that Jessica was the past and Layla was his future. Layla agreed to go with Cristian to the high school prom so he could serve as chaperone, but Jessica tried to make a play for Cristian there as well by stuffing the ballot box so she and Cristian would be named prom king and queen. Cristian refused to play along and devastated Jessica by publicly professed his love for Layla. Alone outside the gym entrance, Cristian then got down on one knee and proposed to Layla, who was overjoyed and quickly accepted. After telling Carlotta about their engagement, Cristian and Layla then decided they needed to go to Maryland to tell Layla's mother, who they feared would not take the news well.
As expected, Lisa Williamson was not pleased to hear that Layla was engaged to Cristian and accused Cristian of being responsible for putting Evangeline in a coma three years earlier. Layla and Cristian then learned that Evangeline was in the hospital, and a doctor informed them that Evangeline was no longer able to breathe on her own. Layla wondered if Evangeline had prepared a living will in the event something happened to her, and her mother accused her of wanting Evangeline to die. Lisa told Layla she never saw such a document among Evangeline's papers but knew that Evangeline would want to fight to stay alive. When Layla went to the house to search her sister's papers, she caught her mother about to burn the living will that Evangeline had prepared.
Lisa refused to honor the living will because, although Evangeline had signed it, the will had never been filed. But Layla was sure her sister wouldn't want to be hooked up to machines for the rest of her life, and she considered hiring a lawyer to fight her mother. But Lisa changed her mind after talking to attorney Bennett Thompson, whose business card she found among Evangeline's possessions. Bennett, who was really Elijah Clarke, advised Lisa that the will would hold up in court, even though it was never filed, and that she should let her daughter go. Layla was relieved when her mother allowed the machines keeping Evangeline alive to be cut off. With Cristian by her side, she said a final goodbye to Vange, who quietly passed away.
Back in Llanview, Layla told John that Evangeline had died. She mentioned her mother's phone conversation with Bennett Thompson and told John she had a file with Bennett's name on it that was among Evangeline's possessions. Layla called Cristian to retrieve the file, but Eli knocked him unconscious and stole the file. Layla and Cristian were shocked to learn that Bennett Thompson was Elijah Clarke, and Layla feared they had helped Eli kill her sister to keep her from ever revealing Eli's secret life. When Cristian got a letter stating that he had received a grant from Llanview University to teach and display his artwork in a private studio, Layla explained she had filled out the application for him so he could pursue his art career. Layla then got her own special delivery -- a wedding dress made from a sketch she had drawn that Cristian had secretly sent to Adriana, who had managed to get Layla's favorite designer in Paris to create for her. After speaking to Adriana, Layla told Cristian that the designer wanted her to work for him as his first assistant -- but she would have to move to Paris.
Layla and Cristian postponed their wedding plans as Layla moved to Paris, leaving Cristian behind in Llanview. In November, Cristian flew to Paris along with his teaching assistant, Gigi Morasco, so he could visit Layla. But soon after Cristian arrived, Adriana informed Layla that they needed to fly to Milan immediately to deal with a work crisis. Layla at first said she was going to stay with Cristian, but Adriana told her that if she didn't go it would be the end of her fashion career. Reluctantly, Layla bid Cristian adieu and flew off to Milan.
Cristian admitted to Layla afterwards that he had kissed Gigi while on the trip but said it meant nothing. Layla promised to visit Cristian in Llanview over the Christmas holiday but never showed. Cristian grew suspicious of all the time she was spending with her boss, Stefan, and accused her of having an affair. Cristian flew to Paris in January 2011 and admitted that he had played strip poker with Blair Cramer on New Year's Eve and woke up naked in her bed but assured Layla that nothing had happened. He apologized for accusing Layla of having an affair, but Layla admitted that she had in fact slept with Stefan. Layla said she was enjoying her life in Paris too much to think of anything else and didn't want to force Cristian to leave behind his career in Llanview. She tearfully told Cristian that they should end their engagement, and Cristian embraced Layla before saying goodbye.