When Madison had offered to give her some reality TV pointers, Kate had eagerly agreed. She was tired of being called "boring" and "vanilla" and "ho-hum." But so far she was having a hard time understanding why Madison was apparently so great at TV while she herself was apparently not. Besides the whole camera-hog thing, obviously; she knew Madison was better at that.

Madison explained, "You make vague but important-sounding pronouncements. 'I feel like things are going to change for her.' Or 'What could possibly go wrong?' Or 'Everything is going to be different this time around.' Those are good because Trevor can use them as teasers in the commercials they play all week long, and as a cliff-hanger at the end of an episode. Which means that your one sentence will get played about a hundred times."

"But it's sort of an unspecific and boring sentence?" Kate said hesitatingly.

"Unspecific, yes. But boring, no. Having your sentence be the tease puts you at the center of the drama. The one who's either right—or spectacularly wrong. Which it is doesn't matter." Madison fast-forwarded as she talked. "As you can see, as far as the Gaby prediction goes, I was correct. Things changed for her all right. She spent a month in lockdown."

Kate reached down and picked up Lucinda as she waited for Madison to find what she was looking for. She'd promised herself she'd practice six hours a day until the showcase, but she'd only strummed two chords before Madison whirled around.

"Ahem. What are you doing?" Madison demanded.

"Um, playing a guitar?"

"Would you play a guitar in calculus class?"

"What? No."

"Well, then put that thing away, because this is a lot more important than calculus. Honestly, you're lucky I'm even taking the time to help you with this."

What Do You Think?