An Ostensible Invitation
Summary: In which a hurt Hermione confronts Ron, trying to find out why he's suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after she'd invited him to Slughorn's Christmas party and he'd seemed to accept. Just because I wondered why she didn't.
Half-blood Prince what-if. Some dialogue in the story taken from book six out of necessity (and some slightly altered), but not, I believe, enough for it to be bothersome.
"You were going to ask me?" asked Ron, in a completely different voice.
"Yes," said Hermione angrily. "But obviously if you'd rather I hooked up with McLaggen . . ."
There was a pause while Harry continued to pound the resilient pod with a trowel.
"No, I wouldn't," said Ron, in a very quiet voice.
"Do you think Hermione did snog Krum?" Ron asked abruptly, as they approached the Fat Lady. Harry gave a guilty start and wrenched his imagination away from a corridor in which no Ron intruded, in which he and Ginny were quite alone -
"What?" he said confusedly. "Oh . . . er . . ."
The honest answer was "yes," but he did not want to give it. However, Ron seemed to gather the worst from the look on Harry's face.
~Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter fourteen: Felix Felicis, by J.K. Rowling
Ron was stalking towards his next class, clutching his book bag tightly, his fingernails digging into the worn, old leather as if seeking vengeance, his shoulders hunched and teeth gritted, when Hermione caught up with him, dispelling his sullen little masochistic session of conjuring up mental images of her and Krum.
Hermione glanced sidelong at him as they walked, her almost jogging to keep up; he could feel her eyes on him. "So you've changed your mind, then?"
So far, in reacting to his withdrawn and cold demeanour that day, she'd merely sounded offended and confused. Her now unexpectedly timid tone gave him pause.
"Er…what?" he asked, coming to a halt in the corridor, ignoring the other students still flowing around them like water past a rock. Ron did notice, however, that one of these students included Harry, whom he'd accidentally left a bit behind, his long legs propelled forward by his foul mood. Harry simply hurried past with a glance but without a word, like he wanted no part in this.
Sniffing, Hermione drew herself up in a dignified manner. "Well, I suppose we didn't really make a proper appointment as such, but I still thought…I got the impression you wanted to go."
He blinked at her. "Go?"
Hermione nodded impatiently. "Yes, to Slughorn's Christmas party, of course— but considering your behaviour all day, I assume you've changed your mind!" Her voice dropped in volume, then, growing tense: "Or perhaps you never wanted to go in the first place."
Ron swallowed, managing a glare. "You never actually invited me, you know, you basically just said you'd thought about it— and we were arguing at the time— how is an argument an invitation?" On some level, Ron knew he was being unfair. If he was honest with himself, he knew he had indeed taken it as an invitation. In fact, he'd even felt quite pleased with how well it had all worked out…or at least until Ginny had provided him with a generous helping of revelation and humiliation.
Hermione gave him a long, indecipherable look; he had to force himself not to squirm. "Ron, I thought it was perfectly clear that I was inviting you. We'd stopped arguing, and I thought we'd come to an understanding," she said softly, and it was the lack of the usual shrill fury that got to him. "What's changed? What's going on? Please explain yourself right now."
His face burned. He had the terrible feeling she'd think it was all ridiculous, and had no desire to "explain" himself at all. "It doesn't matter, does it? I'm sure there are plenty of Slug Club boys there to keep you entertained, anyway," he hedged, his voice tight and his eyes glued to his battered book bag. "You wouldn't want to bring an as common as muck outsider like me, it'd only make them misunderstand, and that'd ruin your chance with Sluggy's favourites, like good old McLaggen. Wouldn't want that, would we?"
Again, there was an uncomfortable pause. The overbearing understanding behind the words she spoke next made him want to die. He felt so transparent with her, even when she didn't exactly know what was really on his mind. "I don't fancy any of the Slug Club boys, least of all McLaggen."
His heart leapt briefly, hearing that, but it still wasn't good enough. It still didn't change anything. It only meant that perhaps not even talented and connected blokes like the wankers who were hand-picked for the Slug Club were good enough for her. "Ah, so that's it, then?" he croaked, his voice sounding nowhere as icy as he'd have liked.
She shook her head faintly, frowning with a sort of bewildered exasperation at him. "What?"
"I get it, Hermione! You'd like me to chaperone, so McLaggen or his chums'll keep their big, hairy mitts off you— well, perhaps I'm looking for more of a laugh of an evening, like doing my History of Magic homework," he sneered, before turning on his heel and storming off towards the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, leaving a shocked Hermione behind him.
It seemed, however, that Hermione still wasn't going to let the matter lie. After Potions, she intercepted him in the corridor once more, practically running to reach him this time. Apprehensive, Ron scouted around for Harry, who was nowhere to be seen all of a sudden.
"Ronald Weasley," she whispered heatedly, trying to keep the conversation at least semi-private in the rush of students, "I still cannot fathom what I could've possibly done to make you act like this, so I will not let myself be treated this way!"
Ron shifted uneasily, straining against the tight grip she had on the sleeve of his robes. Snape had disapproved of his angry sulk even more than Hermione had, making his lessons even more torturous than usual. Ron wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle another row on top of that.
"You haven't done anything," he lied, badly but with great indignation, "not everything's about you, you know."
Hermione flushed, reeling back as if she'd been slapped, her grip on his robes slackening. "You must be having me on!" she hissed, dropping his sleeve as though it was a particularly offensive-smelling bag of dirty laundry. "If it's not about me, then how come I'm the only one you're being such a horrible git towards?"
Ron's nostrils flared with offense. "You know the solution, then, don't you? Just leave me alone, and you won't have to speak to a 'horrible git' anymore!"
"Ron, don't be daft!" scolded Hermione.
"Why not, when I'm so good at it?" he retorted sourly.
"Oh, Ron, why can't you just tell me and get it over with?" Hermione complained, and there was an exhausted, pleading note in her voice now that caused a needle of guilt to pierce him. "We're supposed to be friends! I swear, this is turning into third year all over again, and that's the last thing I—"
"Oh, friends, are we?" he released an unnatural laugh, lashing out against said guilt. "Well, if we're such good friends, then how come you never told me you snogged Krum?" This wasn't like third year at all, he thought, it was more like fourth year, but he wasn't about to bring that up now.
Even as his stomach sank as he got his final, awful confirmation, Ron received a shot of wicked satisfaction from watching her go pale. "Who told you?" Hermione demanded.
"Ginny," Ron informed her immediately, with a not insignificant amount of venom, "she had a grand old time rubbing it in my face, too, since she was so bloody keen on pointing out my lack of experience!"
Hermione looked stunned. "Are you honestly telling me that y-you're being…being like this because you're hacked off that I've kissed somebody and you haven't?"
Ron spluttered, then tried to find a way to avoid blatantly changing the subject while also avoiding answering her question directly; then he tried to simply stop spluttering. "Do you have any idea how humiliating it is for your little sister to have more experience than you, and then to have her taunt you, in front of other people, about how the girl you fa—" he seemed to choke, then, before shifting gear: "Harry's snogged Cho, Ginny's snogged half the boys in the school, and you've snogged Krum—"
"Kissed!" she objected fiercely. "We didn't snog— that sounds so—"
"Same difference!" he snapped. "I bet you're all having a right laugh, talking about poor, inexperienced Ronald Weasley!"
Hermione huffed with wounded exacerbation. "Stop it, Ron, you know Harry and I would never— and why are you taking this out on me? You've never given Harry a hard time for snogging somebody!"
Ron opened his mouth to speak, then quickly shut it. There was simply no way in which to answer that question that wouldn't cause the entire universe to tilt sickeningly, like an out of control broom.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), when he opened his mouth again, somebody saw fit to block the flow of words for him.
Out of the blue, or out of another classroom, Ron Weasley found himself with a face full of Luna Lovegood, who'd for some reason decided now was as good a time as any to provide him with his very first kiss.
Warm, soft lips pressed unabashedly against his, a delicate hand held him steady by his arm, and large, pale grey eyes gawked at him from an uncomfortably short distance. It seemed nobody had informed Luna she was supposed to close her eyes at a time like this, or perhaps she simply didn't care and prioritized her ever-active curiosity.
His gaze slid up, panicked, seeking Hermione. Past Luna, Hermione drew in a sharp breath of protest, her face turning roughly the shade of oatmeal this time, her brows knitting with perplexed fury.
Finally, Luna let go of him.
"Luna!" Ron exclaimed, goggling at her as he staggered backwards.
Licking her lips in an absentminded manner, Luna tilted her head at him. "I do apologize, Ronald. You're funny, and your mouth really is quite pleasant, but you can be a bit unkind, and I also need a more open-minded person. It's unfortunate, but I doubt you'll ever be able to see a nargle. I thought I'd tell you that, in case you wondered."
Ron gaped after her when she swept away; after a few dignified steps, she started skipping.
For a while, neither Ron nor Hermione seemed able to speak. Down the corridor, a group of third years were snickering. Others were watching them curiously.
In the end, Hermione cleared her throat in a meaningful sort of way. "Problem solved, then," she remarked stonily.
"What?" Ron mumbled, sounding decidedly punch-drunk.
"Are you still going to pester me about Viktor, or should I go get some more girls for you to snog?" Hermione asked, with withering sarcasm. "Maybe somebody from Hufflepuff this time, for a bit of variation?"
Ron scanned her face in utter incredulity. "You can't be serious! I didn't— it was her—"
Scowling, Hermione turned stiffly around and left him standing there, exactly as he'd done to her the last time they'd argued.
Ron cursed under his breath. She really was serious.
It was all over the school. Why couldn't Luna have chosen a deserted corridor?
Hermione's pursed her lips far too often now, her back too straight. Harry just grinned at him, in that sheepish way he had sometimes, and said nothing.
Lavender Brown, whom he was fairly sure had been eyeing him most of the term (what with her waving and smiling at him, saying hello every time they met in the corridors, giggling when he said something funny in class, and cheering for him during matches), now only gave him the occasional look that carried a sort of puzzled disapproval, and didn't talk to him anymore. No doubt, she'd heard about the Weasel King and Loony Lovegood. Great.
Malfoy, of course, was as pleasant as ever.
"Weasley!" he called after Ron as he left the breakfast table in the Great Hall, coming out of his sickly, withdrawn mood just for him, and didn't he feel oh, so special, "Hoping you'll get to marry into the Lovegoods so you'll get a job at the Quibbler, are you? Can't be more ridiculous than what you write in your Potions essays! Maybe you'll even be able to afford a decent broom, instead of that outdated twig you're riding now!"
All in all, it was definitely one of Malfoy's weaker attempts at an insult, so Ron didn't give him the satisfaction of any reply other than a hissed "Piss off, Malfoy".
While he was used to being insulted by that snobby bastard, though, being subjected to a jealous Hermione was new and frightening territory for him.
All right, so he'd seen her jealous before, over Fleur, but that was different. It seemed that all it took for somebody to develop feelings of animosity over Fleur, at least if his mother and Ginny were any judge, was simply to be female. Girls and women appeared to hate her almost on principle, so he'd basically figured it had sod all to do with him, as far as Hermione's jealousy was concerned.
But this, now…this jealousy definitely involved him, in one way or the other, and he hadn't the first clue about how to deal with it. He was torn between annoyance (he was innocent, Luna had kissed him!), apprehension (what was Hermione going to do?), smugness (see how she liked it, for once) guilt (starting to worry he'd behaved even worse when he'd been jealous of Krum), a vague feeling of pride (somebody had finally wanted to kiss him) and yet more annoyance (even though she'd kissed him, Luna had made it clearshe wasn't interested in pursuing him any further, so what was Hermione's problem?).
He wanted to tell her that she couldn't possibly be angry with him, because it hadn't been his choice to kiss Luna, but he suspected she'd only claim he should've tried to stop it, or that he must've done something, like flirted with Luna, to make her interested in kissing him in the first place. Which would be a preposterous accusation, of course...yet also somewhat understandable, considering he himself was also trying to suss out why on Earth Luna had kissed him, when he was certain he'd never encouraged her in any way.
And lastly, at times he wasn't even certain Hermione was jealous, not truly jealous, because why would she care who kissed him or not, he was only her useless school mate, and the real reason why she was giving him the cold shoulder had to be because he'd started it, and because they'd had two rows in one day, so who could blame her for— and besides, as nice as Luna was, she wasn't somebody girls would consider a threat, was she? All right, so she was funny, she had a slender figure, long, blonde hair and a cute face, in that odd, pixie-ish sort of way, but her eyes appeared as if they belonged to some kind of deep sea creature, her outfits had to be the end result of raiding the wardrobes of several very dissimilar people, and then there was always the fact that she was completely mental.
Well, at least she was better-looking than Krum, who resembled what Ron imagined a young Snape might've looked like if he'd been athletically inclined and had actually bothered to wash and cut his hair once in a while.
Although he didn't like to admit it even to himself, Ron had in fact devoted considerable time and brain power to comparing Krum to some rather nasty things.
Like right now, slumped in front of the common room fire, for instance, it was a reasonably good way of distracting himself from recent events.
Of course, if he even briefly forgot about this whole mess, there would always be somebody there willing to remind him.
"So…Luna told me she snogged you," purred Ginny, obnoxiously amused and barely bothering to hide it.
"Piss off, Ginny," Ron snarled, "this is all your fault, and you know it!"
Promptly ignoring this accusation, Ginny sat down in the chair next to her brother's. "And right in front of Hermione, no less! So I suppose that rule about snogging in public only applies to me, then?"
Ron sputtered a bit, before scowling. "And do you have any idea why she did that, or are you just here to take the mickey?"
Ginny grinned. "Now that one might actually be my fault, at least partly," she confessed, sounding only vaguely repentant.
"What?" he demanded sharply.
"Well, you'd been such a prat that I wanted somebody to talk to about it, and I happened to run into Luna," Ginny explained, as if it was the most logical thing in the world. "After I'd told her what had happened during our stupid row about snogging, she went on about how she used to wonder what it'd be like to kiss you, although I have no idea why, and also said she was still curious sometimes, even though she'd arrived at the conclusion you weren't quite as lovely as she'd thought— now that one I can believe! Not like I had any idea she'd haul off and actually snog you, though," she said, snorting, "even if she did say she wondered whether you tasted of raspberries."
Raspberries, he thought, his head swimming, why do these barmy things always happen to me? "Ginny! It's bad enough the whole school knows I was kissed by Loony Lovegood!" he chastised his sister. "At the rate you're going, everybody will know I hadn't snogged before, either!"
Ginny's eyes narrowed. "I thought you'd stopped calling her that."
Ron gave a heavy groan. "Blimey— sorry, then, Luna— I'm just not exactly in a terrific mood here!"
Ginny scrutinized her brother's face in a stern manner before speaking again. "And while Luna may not be an international Quidditch star," she said pointedly, "she's probably more than enough to make Hermione jealous. And experience is experience."
Ron pouted with defiance. "I still don't see how she could be jealous, anyway— I mean, she was there, she saw what happened, so she of all people should know I had no part in it—"
"And since when does jealousy have anything to do with rationality?" Ginny challenged in a sarcastically saccharine tone, "You 'of all people' should know that, dear brother."
Leaning back in his chair, Ron sent his sister a look that was part scepticism, part hopefulness. "You reckon she really is jealous, then?"
Ginny merely rolled her eyes.
"Congratulations, Ronald," said Luna, smiling her usual dreamy smile as she approached him in the midst of the noisy victory celebrations. "I see you're startled to see me, and I understand. It's quite unorthodox for a Ravenclaw to be in the Gryffindor common room on such an occasion, but it's all right, because your sister invited me."
Ron, who'd in actuality been startled to see her because he'd been afraid she'd go in for another snog in her post-match enthusiasm, said nothing, relieved as he was that she seemed to want nothing more than a handshake.
His answer was delayed for a few seconds as Dean Thomas came over to slap him on the back and congratulate him before he walked away to join Seamus by the hastily arranged drinks table.
"Cheers, Luna," Ron said at last, happily shaking her still outstretched hand and grinning a bit at her ludicrous lion head hat.
Lavender Brown, passing by them from her own trip to the drinks table, gave them an unusually wide berth, as well as a suspicious and somewhat disbelieving look. Ron got the fleeting impression that one of the two Butterbeers she was carrying might've been intended for him.
"Oh, look, it's Hermione," Luna remarked casually, letting go of his hand. "I'm surprised she's attending, though, considering how hostile you've been towards her lately. Hi, Hermione," she greeted the other girl.
"Hello, Luna," he heard Hermione replying behind him. There was a cautious undertone to it, as if she wasn't quite sure what to think of Luna, or her presence at the party.
Still wincing a bit at Luna's merciless truth-telling, Ron spun around to frown at Hermione. "You've got a lot of nerve, showing up to my party after what you said!"
For a moment, Hermione looked almost as startled as he'd been just a few seconds ago, but her recovery was swift. "It's not your party, Ron, it's for everyone in Gryffindor, which includes me!"
Ron noticed that Luna took this moment to float away; he and Hermione seemed to have that effect on a lot of people. "Come to accuse me of something else, have you?" Ron demanded waspishly. "Cheating on my O.W.L's, perhaps? How about blackmailing Dumbledore to get the prefect badge? Or maybe everybody's recent favourite: abusing my friendship with Harry to get the keeper's posi—"
"Stop it, Ron," she interrupted, rubbing her temple and glaring at him, "I thought winning this match would finally put you out of this horrid mood of yours!"
Crossing his arms over his chest, he stared her down. "Well, until I was treated to your delightful commentary on the match, it had, hadn't it?"
She seemed to deflate slightly, then. "Ron…I'm sorry for what I said, I just didn't want you to resort to cheating, especially when you don't even need it!" she insisted, before her voice softened. "You played brilliantly."
Ron blinked at her, taken aback by her open sincerity. Well! That was just…she was so…how was he supposed to stay angry with her now?
"Yeah, well…said it yourself, didn't you?" he mumbled, at once turning sheepish. "No wonder we both thought…I mean, the weather…not one, but even two Slytherin players off bein' ill…did sort of seem like an awful lot of luck, eh?"
Relief flashed across Hermione's face. "Oh, I'm so glad you've realized I was just using reason, that I didn't mean—"
But Ron couldn't quite help himself. "Not to mention," he continued in that same low tone, his gaze falling to the bottle in his hand as the self-deprecating joke fell out of his mouth, "that me not being complete rubbish was bound to be caused by some sort of miracle—"
"Look," Hermione sighed, sounding partly hurt and partly angry, "I may not believe Quidditch is the meaning of life, like you and Harry do, but I do appreciate how important it is to you, so I would never…" Next, her tone went tender again, her eyes growing warm as she looked up and met his directly. "I had every faith in you, Ron."
Ears burning, he felt acutely and inexplicably young, like he was back at the Burrow, never having even left for first year, being praised by his parents for silly drawings that five brothers had all made before him and all probably better; not quite believing the compliments and affection, yet desperately wanting to believe.
"Blimey, Hermione, it's a celebration…let me get you a Butterbeer or something," he murmured, eyes landing shyly upon her face for a moment before he stole away under this flimsy pretence, neck bent and eyes trained on the floor.
When he returned, he was determined to change the subject, although he wasn't sure how he could while attending a party allegedly all about the subject. If he was lucky, maybe Harry would come over to chat. At this point, though, he'd even take being pestered by the Creevey brothers.
It was the day before Slughorn's Christmas party, and they still hadn't discussed the issue of whether they'd be attending it together or not.
By now, Ron was nearly convinced that Hermione had already decided to go with somebody else; suspicions that had quite efficiently resurrected the frosty wall between them, even if their relationship hadn't deteriorated so far that they were actually avoiding each other.
And currently, Ron was occupying himself, in between half-hearted attempts at his Potions essay, by scowling at the back of Hermione's head as she sat bent over her Arithmancy essay in the common room.
"So…who are you taking to the party, Harry?" asked Ron, when he found himself correcting a sentence for the third time due to lack of concentration.
Looking up from the same essay, or rather from his 'extended' copy of Advanced Potions, Harry blinked owlishly at him, as if he'd been lost in the material. "Er…actually, Luna said she'd come with me."
"What, Lovegood?" asked Ron incredulously, just in case he'd misunderstood.
Harry shrugged. "Do we know any other Lunas? Dunno, I bumped into her on my way to the bathroom yesterday— she was being bothered by some Ravenclaw girls about that whole snogging business with you, by the way— and before I knew it, I'd interrupted them by asking her to the party."
Ron stared at him. "You didn't have to do that for me, mate—"
"Good thing I didn't, then," Harry chuckled. "I simply took Hermione's advice and finally asked somebody so all those mad girls would leave me alone…particularly Romilda Vane."
Turning her head, Hermione sent Harry a brief, pleased smile, nodding in agreement before bending over her homework again; it seemed she'd already been informed of his decision.
"Besides," Harry added, shrugging again, "I don't mind telling you I dread seeing what she'll wear tomorrow night, but Luna's all right— she doesn't giggle all the time, and at least I know she won't try to slip me a love potion. She said it'd be really nice to go to a party with a friend—"
At the mention of Hermione's name, however, Ron had gradually stopped paying attention. "Who are you going with, then?" he asked abruptly, turning towards Hermione.
"What?" demanded Hermione, looking even more confused than Harry had. The world of Arithmancy was evidently just as hypnotic as Potions.
"The party?" Ron clarified testily. "Who are you going with? You fallen prey to McLaggen's questionable charms at last or what?"
Glaring at him, Hermione tilted her chin up in indignation. "No, I certainly have not 'fallen prey' to anything, and in either case I don't know how it's any of yourbusiness who I'm going with, seeing as you haven't showed any interest in the 'pathetic' Slug Club since I asked you."
Ron bristled at her chilly tone. "Well, then I hope you've already sent Vicky an invitation— maybe he'll make it to the party so you won't have to bother with me, if I'm so much trouble," he muttered bitingly.
Hermione sighed, and he could swear her voice was actually trembling now. "Ron," she said thickly, frowning at him, "I kissed Viktor two years ago, and I haven't kissed him again since."
Ron scowled. "Right! Then what about the letters—"
"I haven't seen him in person since then, and it's a bit hard to 'snog' through a letter," Hermione said coldly, rising from her chair and starting to gather up her things. "I spent the summer after fourth year with you and Harry at Grimmauld Place, remember? And I still haven't been to Bulgaria— and you know what? It's ridiculous that I have to stand here and actually defend myself to you— you're not my parents!" Scoffing, she turned round and walked off.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ron saw Harry bending over his homework, writing furiously, every line of his body conveying his discomfort; he was obviously wishing he hadn't been there to witness yet another argument.
Ron groaned. Well, he'd certainly done it now, hadn't he? Goodbye, bloody Slughorn's bloody Christmas party—
He almost jumped as she suddenly returned, leaning over the back of his chair and talking uncomfortably close to his ear. His skin tingled as her breath fanned his earlobe and the side of his neck; even if her voice was nothing like he'd imagined in a position such as this, no-nonsense and brisk rather than husky or seductive, he gulped loudly.
"I'm going to wait for you here in the common room at eight o'clock tomorrow night, but I'll only wait for ten minutes. You decide whether you still want to go to the party with me or not, all right?"
Ron caught Harry gaping at Hermione as she flounced off to her dormitory; apparently, he was too shocked to even pretend to ignore them anymore.
For a moment, Ron could only sit and stare at the fireplace. So she really hadn't asked anybody else. "Bloody hell…!"
To be continued.
Author's note: Before the terrorist attacks in Norway, this story was nearly completely finished, which is why I'm publishing it so soon after my recent Harry Potter story, Rabbit Heart (which was in response to the attacks). This is a much more light-hearted affair.
What if Ron and Hermione had gone to Slughorn's Christmas party together after all? Yes, yes, it's been done. I hadn't found quite what I was looking for yet in any of those other stories, though, so I'm still going there.
Edit(02.11.2011): Just noticed I still had a mention of Snape teaching Potions, even though this takes place in HBP and even though Sluggy features heavily in the story. D'oh!
Edit(03.08.2011): For some reason, I had Luna referring to herself as a Hufflepuff. I have no idea why. I mean, I know she's not a Hufflepuff, I even had Hermione make that comment to Ron about trying to snog somebody from Hufflepuff (as opposed to Ravenclaw) for a bit of VARIATION, for crying out loud. Eh...typo, I guess. Thanks for spotting it for me, motorized-sasquatch.;)
Some quasi-Ron/Luna for my main man, Marvolo Cassius AKA Lon Wolfgood. :D And no, Luna didn't do that because she's some kind of magical matchmaking plot device, but simply to satisfy her own curiosity.
I'll just copy and paste what I wrote in the author's notes of one of my other HP fics, All For Myself: Feel free to britpick this fic as much as you like in the reviews. Being that I am Norwegian, and have been taught British English in school/at university, but am constantly being exposed to American English in the mass media, my writing reflects this by being a jolly hybrid of the two. I've tried to avoid the most obvious American English expressions and such, but…
And there's no beta reader, either, so feel free to comment on any other kinds of mistakes.
PS: Every time I've read that line where Ron says "it's a celebration', I've inevitably heard Dave Chapelle's impersonation of Rick James in my head.