Carly was introduced as a protective single mother to her young son, Zach. She had previously gotten pregnant by her high school boyfriend five months into their relationship, but had broken up over whether or not to get an abortion. She previously attended the University of Montana for one year before dropping out to take care of Zach, who was a one-year old at that time. She didn't know what career aspirations she had, only that she wanted an office with her name on the door.
When Steve tried to help Zach be tougher on the soccer field, Carly berated Zach for speaking to a stranger. She and Steve bickered before Carly led Zach away. Steve later encountered her on a date with a waitress from the Peach Pit After Dark named Marcy. Carly and Steve got into another argument and Carly poured a drink on him, causing her to get fired.
After Steve felt responsible for causing her to lose her job, he helped her to get a job at the Peach Pit. Later, when she kept turning him down for dates, Steve offered to babysit Zach while she went out on a date with another guy. The date went badly, but Steve and Zach bonded. Later, Steve finally got her to accept a date, but when Rush Sanders was caught running a sweat shop, Steve was caught up on the story for the paper and stood them up. They eventually forgave him. The two eventually began dating. During this time, Steve developed a fatherly sort of bond with Zach.
One day, a woman named Jody Carlisle showed up on Steve's doorstep and pronounced him as the father of her unborn child. Carly supported Steve despite not agreeing with his point-of-view on his responsibilities. In the end, Steve turned out to not be the father. Carly was the first person to live in The Bungalow. Carly's romance with Steve ended when she and Zach eventually moved home to Montana to care for her sick father.