Repunzel, New York Style

"Good morning, Manhattan. I'm Katie McPherson, and this is what's making news. On the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, it looks as if someone is about to jump. More details as they become available."

16 year old Lynsey Gallagher sighed. She had been forced to live on the observation deck of the Empire State Building since she was adopted when she was six. She put her hair up. Even in a ponytail or braid, her blond hair reached her waist. Before she was adopted, the other children in the orphanage called her Repunzel. Barely two weeks into her "new life", as everyone around her called it, her adoptive mother had taken Lynsey and her adoptive brother and sister to the Empire State Building. When it was time to leave, all three of them just left her to fend for herself. She had tried to get help, but nobody was there to help her. Ten years. Ten years of fending and fighting. Those first few days were lonely, but she grew used to being by herself. She lived in an area just inside the observation deck, hidden from tourists. But, when it was nice out, she slept outside under the stars. Now, as she looked out over Manhattan, she longed to be free. But, the elevators were only for tourists, and she couldn't get caught. If she did, they would send her back to the orphanage, or worse, kick her out on the streets. She left her room, since it was before the building opened. Walking out onto the observation deck, she stretched and woke up. She checked the clock just inside her room. 7:45. The Empire State Building would open at 8:00. She had fifteen minutes to get dressed. So, she turned to do so. But, before she did, she sprinted and vaulted onto the railing of the observation deck. After she walked the length of the railing, a skill that came only after years of practice, she ran into her room to dress. It was 7:50. Ten minutes. That's what she had to dress and hide before tourists flooded the observation deck. She had to keep herself occupied for ten hours. The building was open from 8:00 in the morning to

6:00 in the evening. Today was Thursday, tour group day. Thousands of people would come through the doors of the lobby and cram into the elevators. Lynsey picked out the clothes she would wear, from the few she had. Since nobody knew she was up here, it was a good thing she was very handy with a needle. The children in the orphanage used to say if given a pile of straw, she could spin it into gold without the help of a funny little man. Before she left, the orphanage had a party, and presented her with a giant sewing kit, headphones, CDs, books, and a CD player. The children and administration seemed to think that she would need them. She put the headphones on, turned the CD player on to the lowest volume that she could hear, and picked up one of the books, beginning to read.

Nine hours later

It was an hour before closing time. No on was around, so Lynsey thought it was safe to quietly move around. Unbeknownst to her, a boy her age had forgotten his camera when he left earlier in the day with his tour group. So, Lynsey walked out onto the observation deck just as the boy went to grab his camera. He saw her, but Lynsey did not see him. She heard something behind her and darted back into her room. "Hello? Anyone there?" The boy called. "I won't hurt you. You don't have to be scared." He kept his voice gentle as he inched closer to Lynsey's hidden spot.

Lynsey decided right then that he was trustworthy. She came out with a shy smile. "I'm not scared. I'm just not very trusting."

"Oh. I'm Nathaniel Antonio Jacobson. But, everyone I know just calls me Nate. What's your name?"

"Lynsey Rebecca Gallagher."

"That's a lovely name. Do you have a nickname?"

Lynsey shook her head, "No."

"Then I'll just have to give you one." He pondered for a moment. "I know. I'll call you Lyn, a shortened version of your first name." He smiled.

She smiled back, "Okay."

"Now, why are you up here?"

"Follow me." She said and started to walk away.

He did as she asked and five minutes later, he was walking into an area unknown and unseen by tourists. "Wow. What is all this?"

"This is my room. This is where I live."

"You LIVE here?"

"Yes."

"Since when?"

"I've lived here for ten years."

How old are you?"

"I'm sixteen now."

"You've lived on your own since you were six?"

Lynsey nodded, "Yep."

"How did that happen?"

Lynsey launched into the tale, "When I was six, I was adopted. Two weeks after my adoption was finalized, my adoptive mother took me and my adoptive brother and sister here, to the Empire State Building. Well, when they left, they left me here. I ran downstairs to tell someone at the front desk that my mother had left me, but nobody was there. So, I came back up here. I've been here ever since."

Nate asked, "Why don't you try to sneak out with the tour groups?"

"I don't dare. If I get caught, it's back to the orphanage for me. If not that, I'll be kicked out on the streets."

He sighed, "Look. It's 9:15. I've got to get home. I'll be back tomorrow. Same time. I'll do something so you know it's me."

"All right. See you tomorrow."

"Bye, Lyn."

"Bye, Nate."

He left, and she decided to change and just go to sleep. Her legs and arms felt like lead. She changed and fell asleep easily, knowing that in 24 hours, she would be free.

The next day

Lynsey's day went on as usual. She woke up, dressed, and hid. She decided to write in the diary that her adoptive father sent her before she was brought into the home. It wasn't much, but it kept her mind busy, so that she didn't think about her freedom run later that night.

Later that night

Lynsey checked the clock inside her room. 8:45. Only fifteen to thirty minutes until Nate would come for her to take her away from the home she had known for more than half her life. Fifteen minutes later, she got her wish. "Lyn?"

"Nate? Is that you?"

"Yes, it's me. Come on out. Let's get you out of here."

"All right." She grabbed the bag she had packed earlier that day, and ran out to meet him.

When she ran out, he met her, taking her hand. "Ready?"

She nodded, "Let's go."

He grabbed her bag and led her to the elevator. It wouldn't come up to meet them. So, they ran back to the observation deck and looked down. There was a ledge about eight feet below them. "What are we going to do, Lyn?"

Lynsey undid her hair from her braid. "Here. Use my hair."

He shook his head. "No, how will you get down?"

"The stairs, silly."

"All right."

She let down her hair and he climbed down. She ran to the stairs, "Nate! The stairs are blocked!" She ran back to him.

"Lynsey! JUMP! I'll catch you."

She did as asked. He caught her safely in his arms. There were tears in her eyes. "Nate! I was so scared!"

He shushed her, "Shhh, Lynsey. I've got you. I know I only met you yesterday, but I really like you."

"Really?"

"Yes." They hugged.

"Nate, can we get down now? I'm afraid of heights."

"You're afraid of heights? Lynsey, you've spent more than half your life living on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, and you're afraid of heights?

"Yes."

He hugged her and they descended the rest of the way to the ground.

Four years later

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride." The minister said with cameras rolling all around.

"There you have it, folks. Manhattan's own Repunzel and her Prince Charming finally tied the knot, four years after her rescue. I'm Katie McPherson, and that's what's making news."