Donzella and Joshuah With An h

Joshuah Jackson couldn't say too much about Donzella's name since many harassed him for spelling his name 'wrong'.

Joshuah grew tired of trying to explain that Joshuah was the Mormon version of Chad (not that he was Mormon). It didn't help that the Urban Dictionary defined Joshuah as a 'total douche', the kind of guy who "never lets you forget the stupid h at the end of his name".

He recalled the time at school when a girl actually said to him (with distain) "Don't be such a Joshuah".

Joshuah would never criticize Donzella for her name anyway because he thought she was pretty and cool. So what if her mother named her after famous furniture, antique and salon businesses, although Donzella was also the Italian version of Donna (and also meant damsel).

Joshuah wished Donzella could be a damsel in distress so that he could save but at least he got to hang around with her because she was good friends with Lexie who was sort of going out with Joshuah's friend Donny and that allowed Joshuah to be the fourth wheel.

Donny Olsen, Lexie Hanley, and Donzella were band geeks and while Joshuah wasn't musically inclined, he was happy to be included in the group, even if it was by default.

Joshuah furthered his credibility by getting along with Donzella's younger special needs sister, Minnie, who could be socially difficult but seemed to accept Joshuah more than others.

"It must be the h," Donny said sarcastically

Joshuah was happy to earn bonus points with Donzella getting along with Minnie.

Lexie was abnormally skinny with long black hair and she wore wire framed glasses on her crooked nose. Donzella was round and blond with perfect long hair, well dressed with noticeable makeup and manicured fingernails. Both girls came from good families and while Joshuah never fit in because of his broken home life and other challenges, at least he got to fake it when he hung out with Donny and the girls.

Donzella was often tasked with looking out for her kid sister in the afternoons which is why the gang took to hanging out at her house most days.

Initially, Joshuah couldn't figure out if they were ignoring Minnie or the younger girl was ignoring them. The kid tended to keep to herself in her room and it was only by accident that Joshuah interacted with her one afternoon by helping her with a puzzle and that unintended breakthrough impressed Donzella.

Sometimes those three would practice their music. Donzella played the flute, Lexie the trumpet and Donny the drums in the school band, but Donzella also played around with the keyboard and Donny wasn't bad with the guitar and those three had a fantasy of someday starting a group of their own.

Joshuah would float into Minne's bedroom or the family room if she was in there when the other three were practicing their music and he'd hang out with Minnie, working on puzzles together.

Minnie was shy and socially restricted in her ability to communicate and connect on a normal spectrum. She processed words literally and she had no concept of humor. She was super smart but she didn't have a whole lot to say unless it was on a topic she was interested in speaking about and then she'd ramble incessantly until Donzella would moan "For the love of God, please shut up!"

Minnie had a pretty smile and deep blue eyes. Her hair was black and short and while she was nearly thirteen, she looked eight. She was very particular about keeping her room neat and orderly. She only ate certain foods. Little things tended to annoy her and her mood could flip in an instant. One moment she might be calm and quiet, the next she'd be screaming and swearing if something didn't go her way.

Joshuah was used to abnormal and dysfunctional behavior so Minnie's moods didn't bother him so much though Donzella could become impatient with her sister's "foolishness".

Joshuah's mother left the family without much of an explanation and his father drank too much, although he really wasn't that bad of a guy. He worked second shift, went to the bar afterwards until closing, and then slept late so Joshuah didn't see a whole lot of him, especially if he was off on a bender. Joshuah knew that the old man spiked his coffee with whiskey and was often half-blitzed when he left for work in the afternoon.

Donny's parents were divorced too, but his mother had a good job with an insurance company and she was going out with some new guy which Donny didn't appreciate. Donzella's mother was a social worker and her father was a lawyer. Lexie's father worked at Toyota of Greenville and her mother was a school teacher.

Donzella had recently broken up with Dennis Watson. Donny said it was over a selfie Watson had taken of Donzella giving Dennis a blowjob that he showed to a few of his pals but Joshuah wasn't sure if that was just one of Donny's bullshit stories.

Donny was one of those over-sexed guys who liked to beat off to porno. Lexie was the first real girl who actually liked Donny enough to go out with him and although Donny told Joshuah that he and Lexie had already fucked, Joshuah was pretty sure that was just more of Donny's bullshit too.

Donny and Lexie smoked pot but Donzella wouldn't let them smoke in the house so they'd go out behind the garage and toke up there. Donzella didn't smoke the stuff but sometimes she'd go out with them just to look cool. Then Donny and Lexie would come back inside suffering from the munchies and they'd ransack the kitchen for chips and cookies.

Those three were outside behind the garage on an early April afternoon. Minnie was occupied in her room and Joshuah excused himself to use the bathroom. Passing Donzella's room on his way back to the living room, Joshuah couldn't resist the urge to peek inside.

The room wasn't as neat as Minnie's perpetual state of perfectness. The bed was unmade. There were clothes on the floor. A school book was opened on her desk. A couple of her dresser drawers were partially open. A bathrobe hung from the edge of the half-opened closet door. He could smell her perfume in the air.

Joshuah dared to actually step into her room. He glanced at the mirror above Donzella's bureau, covered with make-up bottles and hairspray cans. He could almost imagine the imprint of her body on the bed sheet.

He stepped to the bed, leaned over and smelled her scent on the pillow. He went back to the bureau and slowly slid open one of the top drawers which were full of her unmentionables – panties and bras. Glancing around to make sure the coast was clear, for reasons unknown to him, Joshuah slid his hand into the drawer and retrieved a pair of purple panties which he stuffed into his jacket pocket.

Joshuah innocently returned to the living room just as the three returned from their pot break, Donny carrying a bag of Fritos with him. The three collapsed onto the couch almost in unison while Joshuah took a seat in one of the easy chairs.

"So, what are you writing about this week?" Donzella wanted to know.

Joshuah was a writer for the school newspaper, his only claim to would-be fame.

"Homeless teens," he answered. "Me and Jess Anderson went to the Greenville Shelter last week and talked to a couple of kids."

"Interesting," Donzella said, nodding her head with approval. "Josuah with an h for homeless."

Joshuah appreciated the fact that Donzella was a smart student so any compliment from her meant something. She lay her head against the top of the couch and let out a sigh.

"Jerry Harrison dropped the "F" bomb in English class today," Lexie announced with a giggle.

"Out loud?" Donny asked.

"Yep," Lexie confirmed. "He said 'This is fucking stupid," when Ms. Lincoln assigned us a Doctor Seuss book to read."

"Why would she assign a Doctor Seuss book to a bunch of high school seniors?" Donny frowned.

"I don't know," Lexie shrugged.

"Which book?" Donzella wanted to know.

"Oh, The Places You Will Go!" Lexie reported.

"That's one of Minnie's favorite books!" Donzella said with excitement, jumping off the couch. "Minnie!" She shouted. "Come here! And Bring your Dr. Seuss Book!"

"What, is she going to give us an oral rendition?" Donny asked.

"Yep!" Donzella laughed.

Joshuah watched with interest as Minnie strolled into the room with the book in her hand.