Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer's characters. No money made.

"Fools make a mock at sin."

-Prov. xiv. 9-

The police started eavesdropping over the phone right after Edward said, "I'm going to need you to shoot me"- specifically, when I asked "Why?"

Thank god, they never heard him say, "Can you do me a favor?" They never heard him cajole me. They heard me spit vitriol. They heard me rampage about my dead friends. They heard me ask him if boob was going to be his last word.

James also reported that I was acted like a thoroughly traumatized hostage during the incident in the basement. While Edward had threatened, I had mumbled incoherently- the only thing James could discern was, "Why are you doing this?" and "How are you here?"

(I remember when I told him, "I'm sorry I wasn't a good Bonnie." It was the only damning thing that I said, and Edward had cut me off. I wonder why he did that.)

Everything that I said, over the phone and in front of James, had made me look crazy and confused. It all helped my case.

However, the police still grilled me on what happened while I was with him. For eight hours I sat in an interrogation room, shifting around in the probably-intentionally squeaky chair. They wanted to pin some sort of charge on me- they knew I did something.

Then, in the middle of the interrogation, some big wig had entered and informed me that I was free to go.

I knew I was getting off because I was America's sweetheart victim. The press loved me, so the police couldn't touch me.

The police, my dad, the media- they all decided I had Stockholm Syndrome. Which was ridiculous. I was only with him for three days. Stockholm Syndrome couldn't hit me that fast. That thoroughly.

I know I was only with him for a short time, but you can't let small matters like that get in the way of love. I hold those memories close to my chest, recounting them over and over until they feel threadbare from overuse and no longer real. Then I go to sleep, and I dream about him, and when I wake up the next morning my memories feel revitalized by the dreams.

Those memories are more real to me than the present.

I took a whole bunch of pregnancy tests in the days following Edward's death. I don't know why I got so obsessed with the idea of being pregnant. Maybe I wanted something good to happen out of all that bad. Maybe I was hoping I had some part of him still alive inside of me.

I wasn't. I took a pregnancy test every day for a month and a half. Not a single false-positive. Nothing.

I try to picture him. Up in heaven, or hell, or maybe some non-judgmental ether space where the confused go to endure their afterlife. I like to think that he's sitting in some mystical saloon, playing poker with Billy the Kid and Capone and Jesse James. They drink mezcal and kick their muddy boots up on the table top, scattering dirt clods over the chips. Edward shows them his Beretta, and they exclaim over the wonders of invention as they inspect its hard chromed barrel.

I hope they don't shun him because he killed himself. I hope they don't think he's a pussy who took the easy way out.

Every hour of every day, I wonder if I should have shot Edward.

If given the chance to do it over, I would have shot him.

A/Notes: So, I guess I don't have a great reason for calling it the Emperors of Washington. Except that it sounds epic and it oh-so-pretentiously ties in with a poem about death and futility called The Emperors of Ice Cream. Link on profile, if you want to look and laugh at me.

I told some of you in my review replies that this story would have a HEA. And I honestly intended that, but I couldn't write it without it sounding hokey. I just ain't that good. I'm sorry if anyone feels misled.

Thank you. For taking a chance on this story, even though it was freaking insane and depressing and used italics way too much.