Ash makes no apologies for who she is or what she does–to apologize would be pointless, because she knows as well as anyone else that she’s bound to turn around and do it all again the first chance she gets, especially if it was fun the first go. This is just the way life is as a halfling, and if you can’t appreciate a halfling’s ways, then you can sod off, as far as Ash is concerned. She has much more important things to do than worry about what someone else thinks.
So she flirts relentlessly. That is no one’s business but hers. She tests every boundary without a shred of guilt, but why should she have guilt when everyone looks at her as though they expect nothing less of someone like her? She argues with Tierney about everything under the sun, because that is what brothers and sisters do, and it happens to bring her a great deal of pleasure to see him twisted around in the head–after all, it’s not her fault he needs reminding now and then that she is a halfling, not a halfwit–that is his job. And gods know the world simply wouldn’t be right if she didn’t take every opportunity to make Tessy’s hair a bit grayer, because as Tess has mentioned countless times, Ash was most likely put on this earth with the sole purpose of making the old girl’s life miserable, and who is a lowly little halfling to stand in the way of such a noble purpose by behaving?
Regardless of her snark and sometimes cavalier attitude, Ash does know her place, a place she will gladly take in due time, but that time is not now. For now, Phileas Foote’s only real concern is Elli’s happiness and safety, and it’s no wonder, considering the girl has been trapped in Fate’s deathgrip since long before she was a twinge in her father’s britches, but a bit of destiny is hardly a good excuse for leading a dull life, which is why Ash has made it her personal mission to assure Elli sees that true happiness requires risk, if not a certain level of turpitude, and that the definition of safety can and should remain hazy at the edges for as long as possible, to spite Fate and over-protective guardians, who would have their teenage charges remain locked up behind the cold stone walls of the manor, never knowing what it feels like to breathe a boy’s skin or to get caught in a harmless lie.
Until the day destiny knocks for Elli, Ash will be there making certain Elli is really happy, so that the day destiny finally comes to call, Elli will know she lived well every second she had the chance. Ash loves her that much, which is how she knows she is so much more than a halfling.