Most mornings lately Justine wakes up and Blake has already left for the mine. He likely gets some buttery baked thing to eat from the commissary before making his way up the mountain to the mine car that will plunge him face-first into cold rock and dripping black ceiling. He’ll think of her in offhand ways, wondering what she’s doing, thinking of things he’d like to do to her, but usually his mind is completely on task and he’s most concerned with orchestrating the men as safely and efficiently as his cold brain and stiff cold limbs will allow. Sometimes he returns in the evening excitedly, telling Justine about finding thin, veined bands of bright gold in the black rock, of the stifled whispering whoops and shouts from the men. Sometimes there is nothing to tell except for the fact that they went deeper that day, and that when you’re deep like that your own breath returns to you and reminds you what buttery baked thing you had for breakfast.