Meanwhile, Rick became even closer to Lesley as he helped her find Laura. Laura (now played by teenager Genie Francis) was not the naive girl she’d been before. She had recently been dragged away from a commune by Barbara Vining. The last thing she wanted to do was live with Lesley again. Lesley, hoping for a joyous reunion with her daughter, was crushed by Laura’s attitude.
At home with her real mother, Laura tried to come to grips with the confused emotions that had led her to distrust all “adults.” At the bottom, Laura came to realize that her communal experience was spawned by a feeling that Lesley no longer cared about her. It was Rick who once again got through to Laura, making her see that she was truly loved, both by Lesley and her adopted mother, Barbara Vining. Lesley was deeply touched with Rick’s effort, but staggered when he declared his love with a proposal of marriage! Caught off guard, Lesley admitted she loved him too — but wondered if perhaps he was not confusing love for her with his desire to do “something constructive” with his life after Jeff’s near-tragedy.
“If you think I’m asking you to be my wife just to regain my self-respect — I’m not!” Lesley’s attitude infuriated Rick, who stormed out. In a short time, Rick and Lesley mended fences, and Lesley agreed to become “Mrs. Rick Webber.”
Monica, shaken by the news that Rick had asked Lesley to marry him, finally did what she had long feared to do. She asked Jeff for a divorce! On the rebound, Jeff asked Heather to marry him, but recanted his proposal when Heather’s ex-husband Larry Joe told Jeff of her many deceptions. Rick was able to convince Lesley that they belonged together, and in a quietly glorious ceremony held in a ski lodge, Lesley and Rick became man and wife!
Lee Baldwin returned to town in 1977 after his wife died in an accident. Lee found comfort in long, warm and platonic evenings with Gail. Lee and Gail were good company for each other. Sensing his devastation, Gail secretly contacted Scotty Baldwin, Lee’s stepson, urging the young law student to get in touch with the only father he’d ever known. Scotty had left Port Charles several years earlier and was now living in New York’s Greenwich Village. Gail’s mission worked when Scotty showed up in town. She smiled with satisfaction as father and son reunited. Scotty, agreeing to join the “establishment,” accepted a clerking job at General Hospital, where he met and became instantly captivated by young Laura Webber.
Another crisis was about to devastate the city of Port Charles. During the first week of September 1977, Port Charles was hit by a catastrophic hurricane, wreaking havoc and causing a series of dramatic events to unfold. Laura and Scotty, en route to a rock concert, were caught in the storm and forced to seek refuge in a storage shed.
The paralyzed David Hamilton (a former college roommate of Rick’s, now a down on his luck artist) was admitted to General Hospital. David wallowed in his pity when informed that the bodies of his wife and children had been discovered in the wreckage of their house. David’s paralysis puzzled the General Hospital doctors, who could find no physiological basis for his inability to walk. After several weeks, David was released from the hospital and he gratefully accepted his pal, Rick’s offer to move into the Webber house to recuperate. In time, Lesley couldn’t help but notice that there was something strange about David Hamilton.
Laura didn’t feel the same way — she adored David! The maturing girl and the older man struck up an instant friendship, one that troubled Lesley Webber. Laura was experiencing severe “growing pains” which had caused her relationship with Lesley to become cold and distant — not at all like the cozy rapport she’d established with Monica and David. From the moment Laura returned to Port Charles, she rebelled against her mother’s rules and edicts.
Lesley became especially upset when she correctly suspected that Laura and Scotty’s relationship had become a romantic one. And David began to take an unusual interest in Laura, too. Like Lesley, Scotty Baldwin took notice of Laura’s fascination with David Hamilton. In fact, Scotty caught Laura in several lies — all having to do with her handsome houseguest.