Pete Jannings was a member of the Gang called the Vipers, and showed up in Salem in 1983 where he tried to rape Gwen Davies. Later, while stealing some food from Shenanigans, Pete was caught by Melissa Anderson. Pete kidnapped Melissa and tried to leave Salem, but due to a snow storm they were stranded out at the old Horton farm. At the farm Pete and Melissa grew close, but when police arrived he was arrested. Melissa and Chris didn't press charges, and Pete was released in Chris' custody. Pete and Melissa began dating each other secretly. However when Pete accidentally shot Mickey Horton during a gang rumble Pete split town, but meet up with Melissa, who had been sent to a summer camp. When the two returned to Salem their relationship was found out. Later Pete got a job at Beefcakes as a male stripper, but kept his job a secret from Melissa. Melissa's mother Linda Anderson returned to Salem the same year and was after her daughters stocks in Anderson. Melissa had sold her stocks, and in an act of revenge Linda drugged and arranged for Melissa to find Pete and her in bed. Melissa was furious with Pete, and took a job at Barry Reid's flower shop, not knowing it was a front for a drug rind, even though Pete warned her. By the end of the year Pete and Melissa had made up.
In 1985 Melissa was blamed for a running a drug ring out of Barry Reid's Flower Shop. Barry [who just happened to have been married to Pete's sister Tess] was the runner, but blamed Melissa. While Melissa was on the run Pete met and fell for Ivy Selejko. Ivy became pregnant, and when Melissa finally got of the hook for the drug ring and returned to Salem, Pete married Ivy. Even though Pete and Ivy were married, Pete still loved Melissa, and the two had an affair on the side. Later Melissa unknowingly acquired some film from Kimberly that many people wanted, including Victor Kiriakis. Melissa's life was in danger, and Pete and Melissa went on the run and ended up in Miami. On February 14th, 1986 Pete and Melissa were finally married in a double ceremony with Mickey and Maggie Horton. Later that year Pete began to manage the club JUMP! and used it as a front for shady dealings with Victor Kiriakis. While at the Kiriakis warehouse he was helping Bo unload shady good, when Bo was almost crushed by a fork lift. Pete saved Bo's life, but was injured in the process and was paralyzed. Pete eventually recovered, but his lies and Melissa's affair with Lars Englund led to their divorce in 1987. Pete left Salem, and hasn't returned since.