Again with that question. Why was Chester so persistent in roping Harold into his party plans? It wasn't like Harold would liven up the occasion at all. Maybe this bright-eyed kid in an adult body just really really wanted to cheer up a dying acquaintances. Sucks for him then.
"It's okay, I said I had other plans."
"I know that, but what plans?" Chester probed further, frowning in suspicion.
Well, what answer was Harold going to throw at this annoyingly inquisitive guy? All Harold wanted was a time alone at this café, sipping his beverage in peace, and then he showed up for a drink too. Harold couldn't just say he'd spend time in front of a television screen, armed with beer and cigarettes. That'd just spur Chester on even further to drag him out to the party.
"Concert? Oh! You mean the New Year's Eve concert featuring Skelli?"
"...yeah, that's the one. It's near my place too, so I might as well."
"Ah... that's great." Chester wore a more relaxed smile, proceeding to sip from his cup of caramel latte.
Harold continued to stir his cup of dark mocha without saying anything. Should he really go to the concert? He was worried about living up to the statement he gave, but whether it would be something actually pursuing and fulfilling in terms of his goals. He didn't have to be there in person to find out just how it was going for Ellis. The Internet could assist him in his research. Or would that deprive him of something by not actually watching her perform, something he couldn't put a finger on...?
"Huh? Oh sorry, just a little tired."
"Nah I understand, I also party pretty hard during this time of the year!"
Harold wisely refrained from clarifying about his "partying". It would clearly upset the poor lad.
"Anyway, I was suggesting that maybe we could meet up for dinner first, then all go together to watch the concert. Then you wouldn't have to miss out on either! Watcha think?"
Still not giving up, huh? Now what bone could Harold throw to make this puppy leave him alone? He carefully pondered his next response, like figuring out the correct wire to cut in a time bomb.
"Hmm... that's actually not too bad of an idea, but..."
Red, blue, or green wire?
"...it would be pretty inconvenient for you to suddenly change your plans now. You've probably already prepared the stuff for tomorrow night, so it'll be kind of a waste if you only spent like an hour at your place."
"Well I could just cancel and ask everyone to meet up at some dining place near the park, Harold. Not too big of a deal."
One down. Now red or blue?
"Yeah, erm... that'll be a problem. Pretty much all the good eating places are fully booked that night. It is a pretty popular concert after all. And I can't possibly accommodate everyone in my tiny apartment, right?"
Snip. Harold held his breath.
"...hah. I guess you're right. Never mind then! You go enjoy yourself at the concert tomorrow, while I host my party!"
Phew. Bomb successfully diffused.
"Yeah, don't worry about me. You have fun with your guests."
"Alright." Chester slurped the remaining liquid in the cup. "I gotta go now, have a great new year ahead!"
Harold simply smiled and waved the cheery guy farewell.
A great new year ahead? He wouldn't be too sure about that.