"I always knew you’d be the first to go, but, I guess it makes sense.” Matteo paused, thinking about his next words as he read off the paper in his hands. “It’s just like the sleepovers we used to have. We were young but we were kings.”
“Matteo,” David said in a deadpan tone, staring at him from the bed he was sitting on with confusion clear on his face. They were currently in Matteo’s hotel room. A small but fancy room enough for a bed, a couch, a TV, and a table by the window with a pretty nice view where they’d eaten breakfast this morning when David had come knocking at 8 AM.
“A group of bros trying to stay up as late as we could.” Matteo continued, ignoring David’s interruption. “Nothing could make us surrender our freedom.” His tone was light as he remembered their past while he continued his speech, he lifted his fist for emphasis after thinking for a brief second.
“Matteo,” David said again in the same tone with the same expression except for this time he looked like he wanted to laugh at him.
“Yes, David?” He asked, not hiding the annoyance in his voice.
“Sorry, but I have a question. Why is this whole thing about children sleeping?” He asked, tilting his head.
“It’s an allegory,” Matteo said as an explanation, “Can you just let me finish?” He asked him, annoyed that he’d been interrupted at all. Time was passing by and they would have to be at Jonas and Hanna’s wedding soon and he was already beginning to feel anxious about talking in front of a crowd but also the thought of losing his best friend to married life was hanging over his head like a shadow just ready to fall over him.
There was also the fact that he was thinking about his brand new ex-boyfriend Peter, who had decided to dump him a month before his best friends wedding, forcing Hanna to readjust the seating and giving her no choice but to place him at the singles table with David, who he didn’t exactly mind spending time with but who he knew would heavily judge his actions at the reception later tonight and he wasn’t sure if he’d want to deal with it. Although, he was sure that his mind would change the more he had to socialize with others. And when he got a few drinks in him.
“Oh! Okay. Well, as an allegory, then this is amazing.” David responded barely concealing the fact that he was messing with him now.
“You promised you would be supportive.”
“I am! I just told you it’s amazing!” David quickly responded, waving his hands to encourage him to go on. He wanted to get this wedding over with already because he was sure that Matteo would return to his regularly scheduled sloth-ish ways later on, forcing him to take on the job as caretaker. “Keep going.”
Matteo cleared his throat before starting again, “See, there are a couple of phases to every sleepover. First, there’s the beginning of the night, when everything is perfect and it seems like no one is ever going to bed.” He ignores the snort from David. “Then a few guys pass out and everyone makes fun of them for being weak and soft.”
“Soft?” David repeats after him, taken aback by his choice of words. Matteo glares at him and doesn’t respond, instead continuing with his allegory. “But slowly, the rest pass out, and before you know it, it’s down to you and one other person.” He pauses and pretends he’s looking out at the guests at the wedding, making a point to not meet David’s gaze who was now pressing his lips together to stop himself from laughing. “That was always me and Jonas. Brothers in arms.” His lips lifted with a smile as his last words echoed in his head. He was very proud of them.
“Well, that was fuckin’ weird,” David said, snapping him out of his thoughts and quickly bringing him back down to earth. “Alright,” Matteo responded as he folded up his speech before walking over to grab his suit jacket that was hung over the chair at the window. “The speech is good. You’re just being a dick.” He said, putting his jacket on. “Um, I’m sorry, Matteo. Do you know what a best man’s speech is?” David asked him, tilting his head in his signature David way and pursing his lips to keep from smiling.
“Yes! It’s one man’s heartfelt truth spoken publicly to another who happens to be getting married…and leaving me behind forever.”
“Yikes.” Was all David could manage to say.
“I’m fine,” Matteo said after a second. Now he was sitting down and putting on his shoes, forcing his brain to not think about his crappy situation. Today was not about him. “I’m happy for Jonas!”
“Okay! This has been great.” Matteo began,
“But, I think it’s time for you to go back to your room.” He continued.
“I don’t like my room.” David simply says.
“Well, I’ve got to get to my best-man duties,” Matteo tells him as he’s pushing him out the door. “Come on.”
“Duties? What duties?” David asks him, resisting as he’s being pushed out. He reached down to grab his shoes that he’d taken off the second he’d entered Matteo’s room. He wanted to be comfortable while he listened to whatever speech his friend was planning on giving.
“Pictures, mingling. All very exhausting stuff that I need some time to prepare for.” Matteo had gotten David halfway through the door, half of the man’s body refusing to leave. “I’ve got zero duties,” David told him, pouting slightly at the thought of having to stay in his room and waiting alone to watch another one of his friends get married while he sat at the singles table. The thought of listening to Matteo’s embarrassing speech did cheer him up a bit, though. And, although it was selfish, David was glad that he’d have some sort of companionship at the singles table. The people there were weird, even more than Matteo.
“Come on,” Matteo said again, shoving David’s shoulder. “Matteo, I’m trying to help you, okay?” David said as he continued to resist, “A wedding speech is just making people laugh! Jonas and Hanna don’t wanna hear your weird, jealous sendoff for Jonas.”
“I’m not jealous.”
“You’re a little jelly. You’re a little jelly bean.” He reached his free hand up and poked his nose. “Boop-boop-beep.”
Matteo rolled his eyes and pushed him one more time, this time succeeding in separating them. “Bye, David.” He said while locking his door. “Okay, bye,” David responded from the other side. “Your speech sucked. Just tell them a funny story! You’ll thank me later!”
“Fuck,” Matteo muttered to himself as he heard David’s retreating footsteps. He knew that David was right.
“But somehow, Hanna still thought that Jonas was attractive after that!” Matteo was at the front now, giving his quickly rewritten speech to two of his oldest friends. The crowd was laughing at his story like David said they would and he was annoyed that he would have to face David’s arrogance when he got to their table. But for now, he was just glad the speech was over. “I’d like to raise a glass to Hanna and Jonas. I love you two so much. Congratulations!” The crowd cheered and Matteo downed his glass of champagne like he would a bottle of beer. Finally, he was no longer responsible for anything except his growing need for escape and since he couldn’t exactly leave his best friend's wedding, he’d have to settle for the sweet sweet call of alcohol.
Matteo saw Hanna and Jonas headed his way and met them halfway from the little stage he was standing on. “Broooo, get over here,” Jonas exclaimed while pulling him into a hug. “That was amazing!” Hanna said, wrapping one of her arms around him as well. “You liked it?” Matteo asked, relieved that he managed to not fuck something so important up. “Loved it!” Jonas said, squeezing his arm. “Oh, good!” Matteo responded, the relief evident in his tone. “That was so good, Matteo!” Hanna said and he was glad to hear her compliment him again.
“Alright, let’s get the bride and groom out on the dance floor!” Came the voice of the DJ, stopping Matteo, Hanna, and Jonas’ conversation. “We’ll see you in a second,” Jonas said before they both squeezed him once more then moving away to have their first dance as Husband and Wife.
Matteo had decided that he needed at least four more glasses of champagne before he reached David and before he socialized with any of their friends. He’d cornered a waiter and had them stay there while he pulled each glass and chugged them down one after the other, letting out a small burp and then patting them on their shoulder as a way of thanks before sending them away. When he got to the table, David wasn’t there. Rolling his eyes, he turned around to see if he could spot David in the crowd. They were about the same height so it wouldn’t be too hard to see his dark hair walking around but before he got a proper look around, his old friends from high school got to him first.
Amira, Kiki, Mia, and Sam were all dressed in matching maroon dresses and they all had big smiles on their faces as they each pulled him in for a hug. “Na?” Amira said to him when it was her turn to hug him, opting instead for their personal handshake that ended with a snap. He could see that Amira was annoyed at him but it seemed that she would allow him to live, if only for a few more minutes. “Na.” He responded, smiling widely at her. “You look like angels,” He said, taking a step back from them. “I think you cleaned up pretty nicely, Florenzi,” Sam said a compliment that he greatly appreciated although he never cared much about how he looked, it was nice to hear that he didn’t look like shit.
He noticed that Kiki and Mia were exchanging glances with each other before Kiki spoke to him. “Are you okay?” She asked him, immediately followed by Mia. “We heard you and Peter broke up but we were a bit caught up with Hanna and we weren’t sure how or if we should reach out.”
“Yeah,” Kiki said, “Carlos told me we should give you some space.”
Sam reached over and wrapped an arm around him and pretty soon he was in a group hug with all of them telling him that they were sorry to hear about the breakup and how Peter was an ass that they didn’t like anyway. Matteo couldn’t help but smile after receiving so much love from his friends and he wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol finally settling in his system, but his body was beginning to calm from the nerves he had before. The group wobbled a bit as two people crashed into Matteo from behind and one crashed into them from another side of the group, the three of them wrapping their arms around the rest and him.
“Everything okay over here?” Carlos asked, his breath touching Matteo’s right ear and making him flinch away causing him to hit Abdi, who was on his left side, in the head with his head. “Ouch!” Abdi exclaimed, clutching the side of his face and pulling away from the hug. Everyone followed suit, laughing at Abdi’s grimace on his face and Matteo noticed that the third person that attacked their group was Mohammed, Amira’s husband. “Sorry,” Matteo said to Abdi, patting his face as he laughed at him. Abdi brushed his hand away and then shoved his hand in Matteo’s face. “Whatever,” He said but Matteo knew he wasn’t angry with him.
“Came to see if you wanted to dance, Kiki,” Carlos said to her with his hand reaching out and a smile on his face. Kiki beamed at him and nodded before telling the girls she’d speak to them later and patting Matteo on the shoulder once more. “Na, Mohammed?” Matteo said to him, a smile on his face as he reached out to bump fists with him. “Na,” He responded. Soon, Sam had grabbed Abdi and Mia was swept away by Alex to follow Kiki and Carlos to the dance floor, leaving Matteo with Amira and Mohammed, the ones who stayed in touch with him the most, apart from Jonas and David, so much that he had weekly dinners with them...except for the last month while he dealt with his breakup the best way he knew how - seclusion. Hence Amira’s annoyance.
Mohammed and Amira were the first to get married out of the group, much to everyone’s surprise since they’d all expected Carlos and Kiki to tie the knot before anyone else. They’d waited until they were both out of college and in their respective careers before merging their lives and by the time Amira and Mohammed got married, Kiki and Carlos had been together for 6 years. Matteo never asked why they hadn’t married yet, though and he wasn’t planning on asking now. Amira’s wedding was where Matteo had seen Peter for the first time and they’d begun their 3 year relationship soon after.
“I’m sorry, man,” Mohammed had begun to say as if he was reading his mind but Matteo quickly stopped him. “Don’t worry about it. He made his own decisions and there was nothing anyone could have done about it.” This was something Matteo would tell himself whenever he was feeling insecure about himself and their breakup. Sometimes it worked. Mohammed sighed and placed his hand on Matteo’s shoulder. “You’re right but I worked closely with him and I wish I would’ve noticed something. I’ll be sure to keep him away from you when we’re at work, okay?” Matteo rolled his eyes and looked over at Amira. “Are you telling him to do this?” He asked her and judging by her innocent expression, he knew she was at the very least encouraging Mohammed to have Matteo’s back at their job and it made his chest swell with happiness. She might’ve been annoyed at him but she still had his back. “We should dance!” Amira said to Mohammed before turning to Matteo, “And if it was me there with you, Peter would get his ass kicked.” she informed him, before giving Matteo one of her bright smiles and pulling a laughing Mohammed away. He was glad to see that she was letting him live, though he wondered what she would do if he missed another dinner night.
After a few seconds of standing there alone, Matteo made his way over to the dance floor on his own. He was shuffling his body along to the song, sure that he was moving with the beat but he definitely wasn’t. He could feel the effects of his drinking now. He moved past all the couples while doing some weird movement of his hands and spinning around at some point before making contact with someone’s body. “David!” He said, “I’ve been looking for you! Everyone has gone dancing.” His words were slurring and David reached his arms out to steady him. “Did you get blackout the few minutes I left you alone?” David asked, incredulous. “Did you get blackout the few minutes you left me alone?” Matteo responded and giggled when David rolled his eyes. “Fucking hell,” David muttered to himself.
“Looks like it wasn’t such a bad speech after all.” He said to David, he could feel his face heating up now. He was probably as red as a tomato but he didn’t mind, this was what he needed right now watching all these couples. “Yeah, you changed the whole thing ‘cause of me,” David said with a smirk and then began to sway with Matteo. “I saved the speech! I’m a hero.”
Matteo laughed and reached out to another waiter that was passing by them, he grabbed two off the tray and took them down before reaching for the other two and finishing those off as well. When he turned back to David, the brunette was staring at him with a mixture of pity and repulsion on his face.
“David, hi!” A voice that Matteo didn’t recognize came from behind him and then arms were around David and Matteo was being pushed away.
David had been swept away by Jess Ramsey, an old friend of his from college that knew him, Matteo, and the gangs. He’d met her when their college was doing a play and they were supposed to kiss each other at some point in it and as a way of getting comfortable enough to do it, they’d hung out and gotten to know each other. He had a crush on her ever since but could never catch her when she wasn’t with someone, even when they had shared a kiss at the plays after party. He was hoping she would be here tonight. “Jess Ramsey!” David said, greeting her by happily saying her first and last name together - he really liked it when someone had a first name and last name that fit well together. “I’ve been trying to talk to you all night,” She said to him, lightly touching his arm. “Oh, sorry! I’ve been going around saying hello to everyone, I haven’t seen some of the people here in years!” Jess laughed and nodded her head, “Yeah, same here. It’s nice to see everyone, though. I feel like I’ve been busy for the last 3 years.”
Matteo, who had been swaying around in a circle certainly not dancing to the song that was playing, had made his way back over to them and bumped into David. “You’re the best man, right? Your speech was so good.” Jess said to him, a smile on her face. “Yeah,” David said before Matteo could say anything else, “took us forever to write it.” Jess’s attention was back on him like he wanted it. “Oh, you helped with the speech?” She asked and David nodded proudly. “Just the good parts were me, though.” David said quickly, “The stuff about the kids and sleepovers was all this guy.” He reached over and patted Matteo’s back, laughing.
Matteo was opening his mouth to say something else but David interrupted before he could, “You know what Matteo, I think Amira is looking for you!” And when Matteo turned around to look for Amira, he pulled Jess away before he could turn his attention back to them.
“You’re a bad person!” He heard Matteo yell when he’d realized that David was ditching him, but David knew he’d forgive him later on. “Was that your boyfriend?” Jess asked him as she followed next to him. “Matteo? Oh no. He’s just my friend from college.” David had led them to the other side of the room away from Matteo who he figured would be a little too lazy and drunk to look for him.
“We’re gonna slow things down here.” David heard the DJ say before a soft song began to play and he reached his arm out to Jess, “Shall we?” He asked her, tilting his head and smiling, and she nodded. “Oh, sure.” She said, taking hold on his arm and letting him pull her into his arms.
Now that they were closer, David felt a little awkward with the silence. “So, how have you been?” He asked her, settling for small talk but hoping they’d get comfortable somewhere into it. “I’ve been good,” She said, “It’s wedding season so you know, I’ve been kind of-”
“Depressed? Totally.” David finished for her and successfully getting a laugh out of her before she continued. “I was gonna say busy.” David nodded and tilted his head, his face in a mock-serious expression, “Yes. Busy. Busy is the word.” She chuckled and hit his arm softly.
“David!” Matteo yelled and David groaned to himself, not wanting to turn around. “David!” He yelled again and Jess looked over at him, “Oh!” She said and this prompts him to turn around to see what he’s doing. Matteo was standing beside one of Hanna’s little cousins, his hand wrapped around the child’s arm while his other hand was softly moving up and down on the kid's forearm. The kid, who looked about 13 years old, was staring at Matteo in confusion.“David come touch this kid’s arm!” Matteo said, “He’s so soft.”
David turned to Jess and sighed, “He’s not usually like this.” He explained, not wanting to look back at Matteo because he feared that looking at him again would make him ditch Jess, the Jess Ramsey that he’s been waiting to see, and go help a drunken Matteo. “He’s going through a break up.” They were still watching Matteo. “Is he okay?” She turned to look at David, “I mean, should you go help him?” She asked, “Um, I think he’s fine.” He assured her and shook his head right when Matteo decided to yell again, “David, come touch him!”
When the song was over, David and Jess spent a few more minutes catching up. They spoke about their lives after college and the jobs they’d worked up until now until Jess announced that it was getting late and should probably get back to her hotel. “It’s gorgeous out here!” He said when they’d gotten outside to wait for her Lyft to show up, “I thought the inside was great but now I’m outside and I’m like ‘What have I been doing inside?’ It’s fantastic.”
Jess looked around and nodded before turning back to the reception where there were still a good amount of people dancing and drinking. “Are you sure Matteo will be okay?” She asked, her brow furrowed in concern.
“Yeah, yeah! Jonas sent him on a shuttle back to the hotel and as long as he can make it to his room, he should be fine.”
“I feel like that might be a challenge for him,” Jess said, squinting her eyes as she tilted her head and scrunched her nose in amusement. “Oh, it’s definitely up for grabs. Yes.” David agreed, chuckling at her expression. “You totally could’ve stayed with him,” She says, “I mean, I’m just gonna get a car and head home.” David was shaking his head before she could finish, “No, no, no. I mean, I feel like I so rarely get to see you. This was great to just catch up.”
“Yeah,” She admits, still smiling.
“Yeah.” Looking down at her, David’s eyes moved down to her lips and then back to her eyes. “Matteo and I, we’re not even really that close. He just needs a shoulder to cry on right now.”
“And you get to be that lucky shoulder,” She says, understanding but still joking with him. “Yeah. I feel really, um, blessed and honored.” He sighed and looked around, “That’s one of the many gifts of being at the singles’ table. You get all the...singles that come with it.” Jess laughed, “Sounds like you need a new table.”
David felt the mood change when it did, she was closer to him now and her hand was resting comfortably on his arm. “Well,” he said jokingly, “You have to be in a relationship for that.”
“That can’t be a problem for you.” Jess said, “You’re cute and charming and funny.”
“Go on,” David chimed in and now they were just looking at each other, both with a smile on their face. The moment was right, he could feel it. They were under the moonlight and a few twinkling lights were reaching them from the reception hall. He leaned in to press his lips against hers but she jerked back almost immediately. “Oh, my god.” She said, putting a few feet between them. “Oh, God. Oh, uh…” She was looking all around, at everything except him.
“I’m sorry!” David said, “Did I just do something horrible?”
“It’s okay,” Jess said, “It’s just, um, I’m engaged.” And she lifted her left hand to show the ring that was on her finger, something he hadn’t noticed the entire time they were together. “Was that there the whole time?” He dumbly asked, his hand going to the back of his neck. “Yeah,” She mumbled. “Okay…” David looked around, trying to think of something to say. “I guess I need to start looking out for those.” He put his hand to his forehead and shook his head. “I’m so sorry, I had absolutely no idea.”
Jess nodded her head, “It’s okay,” she said again but David knew it wasn’t. “Um, I’m just gonna get a car, though, and head home. I have a crazy day tomorrow and I need…” David was nodding, he understood her need for wanting to get away from him. “Yeah, yeah.” He said softly and quickly, “For sure.”
“It was so nice seeing you, though,” Jess told him.
“Yeah! This was, um, thi-this was great.”
David didn’t know what got into him and told him he should reach in for a goodbye hug but he did so anyway. She grimaced at him and said, “Oh,” before reaching out and putting her hand up, a clear signal that she did not want a hug. He quickly pulled away, apologizing again. “Okay, well…” She said slowly, waving slightly at him.
“Yeah. Bye, Jess. See ya.” David was backing away from her now as quickly as he could manage. “Bye, David,” Jess said before completely turning away from him.
David had gotten the hell away from that wedding the second he could. He was glad that he’d driven himself to the wedding and didn’t have to worry about waiting for a shuttle to get him and take him back to his hotel. All he wanted to do now was take a shower and go to bed and forget the entire ordeal even took place. He was happy for Jonas and Hanna but, unlike them, he didn’t have anyone to go back to his hotel room with. They wouldn’t miss him.
As he stepped out of the elevator and headed towards his door, he rubbed the back of his neck and thought of the comfortable hotel bed waiting for him. After getting to the door and inserting the key, he was greeted by loud moaning as he pushed his door open. Confused and wondering if he might have entered the wrong room, David Looked up and saw that the number on the door and his key card was the same. He walked into the room and was met with the sight of Matteo, his entire body taking up the bed and a bowl of chips on his stomach, an empty wine bottle next to him.
“What are you doing here?” David asked him, his lips pressing together in annoyance. All he wanted was a quiet night in his hotel room.
“I’m catching up on an old episode of ‘Bones’,” He said, laughing at his dumb joke. “How did you even get in here?” David asked as he walked over to him to turn off the TV. “I stole one of your key cards last night when I came over for dinner.”
David rolled his eyes and took off his jacket, “Well, that’s just a huge violation of privacy.” Matteo just shrugged and said, “Sorry.”
Matteo adjusted himself so he was sitting up on the bed instead of half lying down, “How’d it go with blondie?” He asked David, who was now sitting on the couch. The room was almost identical to Matteo’s. “I ate shit.” He said, rubbing his face and groaning loudly as he remembered the last hour. “Went in for the kiss. Did not go well.” He sighed again, “Apparently, she’s engaged because of course she is.” He paused and wondered if he should say what he wanted to say, but continued because he knew Matteo wouldn’t judge him. “Though, I feel a little led on because she touches me a lot for someone with a fianc-” He was stopped by a loud sob coming from Matteo.
“Hey, hey.” He said, rushing over to wrap his arms around him. “Hey, what’s wrong?” He said softly, reaching over to get a tissue from the nightstand. Matteo blew his nose loudly into the tissue and David had to force himself to not gag and move away from him, “Is it a Peter thing?” He asks.
“No, it’s not a Peter thing! God!” Matteo half shouts, tears streaming down his face. “Okay, okay,” David consoled him, rubbing his hands up and down his arm, confused but not wanting to see his friend upset. “It’s just - why does everyone have to get married now?”
“So it is a Peter thing,”
Matteo ignored him and continued, “I have four more to go to this year! Four!” His sobbing had gone down, apparently, David consoling him was helping in some way. “I’ve got you beat,” David responded, “Six.” Sighing, David moved away from Matteo to get him a cup of water, once he handed it to him he sat down on the couch’s arm rest, resting his elbows on his knees, he could feel Matteo’s tear-filled eyes on him. “I feel like once everybody saw 30 on the horizon they were like, ‘Hey, guys. Um, you know what? I would like to get engaged’.”
After a moment of silence, Matteo spoke up. “Hey, David?”
“Will you come to Jason and Sarah’s wedding with me next weekend?”
David frowned at him, “Matteo, I’m not looking to go to more of these. And besides, I don’t even know them.”
“I already told them I was bringing someone when Peter and I were still together, and I really don’t wanna go alone.” He sobbed. David knew what he was doing but he wasn’t going to fall for it. Next weekend he just wanted to spend at home, or maybe at a club with some friends, not at some random strangers' wedding. Especially since he had another one to go to in 2 weeks. But Matteo continued, “There’s gonna be a lot of cute people there! You might meet someone, someone ever better than Jen Rimbly!”
“Jess Ramsey,” David corrected him, he still liked saying her name. “You know who she is.” Matteo’s confused expression appeared almost immediately, “Remember she came to visit our dorm freshman year? She almost spent the night in our room when we were doing that play where we had to kiss but then we actually kissed at the after-party?” Matteo, momentarily sidetracked from his tears, shook his head. “I’m really sorry, David. I must have cleared out the memory of her to make space for something else.”
“Okay! This has been great,” David said, echoing the same words Matteo had said to him early on in the day when he was kicking David out of his room. “No, no, no,” Matteo quickly adjusted himself on the bed, this time on his knees, his tone apologetic. “Please, David.” He sniffed, his eyes watering again. “I promise you’re gonna find someone, and if you don’t, I will pay someone to take care of you.”
“No,” David shook his head, “No deal.”
“So we have a deal,” Matteo said and reached out to grab and shake David’s hand despite David already rejecting it.
David was a little amused watching his friend shake his limp hand and he had wanted to argue with him a little more but he had no more time to respond to Matteo. The blonde had said, “Oh.” And began to look around for something while gagging, “Oh shit,” David said when he understood what was about to happen and he quickly stood up to look around for something he could use.
He saw an ice bucket on the tv stand where he’d placed it earlier and quickly picked it up, making sure to dump the spoon that was inside on the table and then went back over to Matteo. He gagged a few times, his eyes wide with drunken panic. “Here,” David placed the bucket close to his face and helped him bend over so he could throw up. “You’re okay,” He said, looking away from the mess but rubbing Matteo’s back with his other hand to soothe him. Please don’t get vomit on my hand, David thought to himself.
Matteo grunted and coughed a few times into the bucket and David continued to rub his back, and while he was concerned about vomit getting on his arm, he was also thinking about Matteo’s tear-filled request and how he knew he was gonna go with him no matter how against it he was.