Previously, on Save the Pearls: In the span of one minute and thirty seconds, Bramford and Eden scared off the FFP, evacuated the lab, got on Bramford’s airplane, and took off. Then the lab exploded, and Eden was sad about her dog probably dying in the explosion.
As Eden, Bramford, and her dad zip off in Bramford’s aircraft, they soon realize they’re being pursued but military jets. Eden thinks about how she wishes that God was real, but apparently religion isn’t a thing anymore. So add religion to the list of things Foyt doesn’t understand at all.
Cat-Bramford gives his pilot instuctions about the incoming missiles, and Eden fetishizes his cattiness some more, thinking about how he’s still smart even thoguh he has a sexy cat-bod now. And boy, we are in for a lot more of that this chapter!
Their airplane gets hit by a blast, and has to turn sharply to avoid being hit again. This sends everyone flying. Eden’s talking life-band-thingy (remember those? They’re basically wearable, holographic iPhones thingies) tells her she needs more Oxy (which, if you remember, is the mandatory drug the government makes everyone take for Evil Totalitarian reasons). Eden yells at Bramford because it hurt her already-injured father, but Bramford ONCE AGAIN has done literally nothing wrong. He doesn’t even acknowledge Eden’s criticism, and proceeds to make a tourniquet for her father’s injured leg.
Eden is surprised:
Again, this mysterious creature was one step ahead of her and her father. Was he a man trapped inside a beastly form, or a beast with a human mind? Eden suspected even he might not know the answer.
Seriously, though, I don’t even think there’s a difference between those two options unless you read “man trapped inside a beastly form” super-literally.
Bramford tears off a strip of Eden’s Dad’s (from now on I’m calling him Dr. Dad) lab coat, and Eden to ties it around Dr. Dad’s leg. She takes a moment to think about how her father still looks preoccupied with Science Thoughts, before asking Bramford where they’re off to. He says “far away,” and Eden asks if they’re going “out of bounds.” He doesn’t answer.
Eden gets all freaked out, because how can you live without The Goverment holding your hand? Then her mind drifts to Bramford, and how hard it must be to be a cat-man, and then she gets distracted by how sexy his cat-manhood is:
She traced his broad chest down to slim hips and muscled thighs. The raw animal power coiled within him, just waiting to explode, fascinated her.
OK, you know what? I’m gonna start a “Bramford, to Eden, is an Attractive, Seductive Tigerman” (or BEAST). Every time we get a paragraph containing a porny desciption of Bramford’s physique, Eden’s attraction toward him, or whatever, I add a point. And I could go back to chapter 9 when Bramford turns, but what the hell, I don’t care enough.
Anyway, BEAST count: 1
It continues, though:
Eden found her body tilting towards his. Maybe it was illogical for a Pearl to be drawn to such a dangerous creature, but she wanted to touch him.
BEAST count: 2
And why the hell is it more illogical for a white person to be into fucking anthropomorphic animals than someone of any other race? Like, what the hell was Foyt even implying???
Bramford looks at Eden, and she blushes, and he grunts, and she feels all threatened.
Their flight comes to its end as they approach Bramford Industry headquarters (if you remember, Bramford is part of the bourgeoisie). As they land on the runway, Eden notices another aircraft “capable of hypersonic speeds,” and thinks about how rich that means Bramford is.
As soon as their plane lands, Bramford picks up Dr. Dad and begins carrying him towards the hypersonic jet. Eden follows close behind, and expresses reservations about getting on board.
As Bramford gets on board, we get more evidence that Victoria Foyt may have been going through a dry spell while writing this. I hate to speculate about such things, but the thirst is REAL:
Bramford’s bare feet pounded the metal steps. His muscular legs flexed with each leap. The magnificent torso swayed. Like a star-struck fan, Eden imagined he could do anything—even crush the huge aircraft in his hands.
BEAST count: 3
Like, jesus. If this were being sold as a romance novel (and as it turns out, there’s a booming sub-genre about fucking animal-men, no judgement) I wouldn’t care about all this eroticized language. But it’s not. It’s advertised as YA. And not to get all pearl-clutchy, but is this even what teenagers want? It sounds very mom-ish.
Bramford asks Eden what’s wrong with her, as she hasn’t come along yet. And since we haven’t had a one-two punch of “I want to do the sex with him but also he’s the worst?” in a while, we get one now:
What did she care if he was powerful or even sexy? More than ever, she resented him.
BEAST count: 4
Oh boy. This is getting excessive. I might abandon this count for the next chapter, because honestly like 25% of this entire book is just this.
As Bramford gets into his superplane, a flight attendant cringes at him, and Bramford tells her to get help for Dr. Dad.
Eden realized with amazement that Bramford assumed her father’s bloody leg had shocked the attendant, not Bramford’s grotesque condition. Maybe he didn’t know how strange he looked or else he had forgotten. Even now, as this monstrous creature, he probably felt no different on the inside.
I love how literally a second ago, all Eden could think about how hot he was, and now she’s like “he’s so ugly now.” Also, remember how much time we spent wondering about if Bramford is a monster or if he’s a man? I guess Eden’s solved that one.
But really, this is just a segue to talk about how sad Eden is to be white:
Inside, Eden was never a Pearl. Sometimes at twilight, before she opened her eyes, before the damning critic in her head reminded her how ugly she was, she felt normal. Then she felt like the Real Eden.
This whole “Real Eden” thing is a running theme in this novel; you may recall that she thought Jamal could see the “Real Eden”. But again, we’re never really told what that is? I guess it’s “Eden without the burden of being othered?” I don’t know. It’s odd.
But how would Bramford feel when he looked in a mirror or when he saw the damming looks in others’ eyes? Maybe now he would know how it felt to be judged by your appearance.-
But. . .Eden’s only reaction to his transformation has been positive. Like, her assumption that everyone else will find him monstrous rings kind of hollow when we have her drooling over his Alpa Male bod every other line.
Once Eden is on board the ship, it starts up. Bramford goes into a private compartment, and for some reason Eden takes this personally.
We spend more time hypothesizing about how hideous Bramford is now, and how he’ll definitely for sure face persecution for being different, etc. Eventually, Eden sits down next to her dad who has an oxy-dispenser. SHe apparently also gets an oxy dispenser, and plugs into it because she’s had a stressful night.
The flight attendant, who we learn is named “Daisy” gives Eden a judgemental look, and Eden realizes that she’s still in her ripped Moon Dance dress. She explains quickly, and Daisy nods.
Eden spends more time thinking about Daisy, who is “middle-aged” (meaning, like 20), and has a White Dot of Marriage on her forehead. Eden also speculates that Daisy is white, and wonders how a white person could have gotten such a good job.
As the superplane takes off, Eden feels some anxiety and she remembers her mother telling her how to calm herself by breathing It doesn’t work though, and all she can think about is that she’s “trapped with beastly Bramford” and doesn’t know where she’s going.
Oh, and the plane is apparently travelling at Mach 20, which is 15345.4 MPH.
And that’s the end of this chapter!