Pierce Velden-Wal never had anything outside of what UNM facility's cafeteria offered. On a whim the young technologies mogul found himself inviting his partner Sylvia to that waffle-pastry-place further into town. The offer wasn't completely innocent, he was looking to unnerve the usually bubbly blonde who was beginning to seem tightly wound around the lab. It was her nerves and the thought of presenting in a room packed full of sponsors. It was the murmurs within the company of award nominations.
While his celebrity status paled in comparison to the newest Celtic-American boy band currently touring the globe, he was widely respected and highly regarded among those who did know him. Per his request, he was never the one to present his own work, but he was the last voice the investors heard from. Deals were closed discreetly during dinners or luncheons, sometimes during private office meetings. Or over the phone. The young entrepreneur valued his privacy and had been successful in his identity remaining anonymous. He very much was the face of the company without being just that. Sylvia was the people-person who didn't mind humoring the PR.
Despite the lack of substantial and palatable press coverage the company still built a phenomenal reputation on its merits; without a public figure to flex their influence on the matter. Pierce masqueraded as one of the product designers. On paper Sylvia had a higher payroll. A lot went into the façade to ensure he wouldn't be bombarded constantly. He had successfully avoided paparazzi, and any other sort of press coverage that involved photographs or video footage.
On the list of successful people who the media knew virtually nothing about he was at the very top. It made him more mysterious. Women adored him, or rather his name and the reputation surrounding it, because they thought his silence was part of a cool-guy routine. That assumption only made him appear even cooler. Others believed it was the hassle of running an empire that took up all his free time. Conspiracy theorist believed that Pierce Velden-Wal was an AI himself who made the false claim of being human to redirect everyone's attention. It was disclosed some time last year that the CEO had a cybernetic eye. Fact. He did (in fact) have two feet of cable and an electronic hard drive in his mind along with the prosthetic. That happened to be the biggest scoop of the year, which later involved thirteen members of UNM staff being fired directly by Pierce.
The woman working behind the counter of that 'waffle-pastry-place' gave the same warm smile she had just greeted the previous customer with. She was wearing the uniform evergreen apron, with a nametag that said Rebecca in block sticker letters.
"Hi, welcome to Cinnamon Stix. What can I get for you today?"
He skims through the menus overhead, spending more of his time looking at the pictures provided than the swirled decorative lettering. Then he glances down at the pastries behind the glass shelving and decided against his own sweet tooth. "What's good?"
She thinks about it for a moment, evaluating her tastes, and sizing up the man before her. "I would recommend the apple spice tea."
"Could I have that and a waffle? Chocolate syrup, berries, powdered sugar, all of it, and would you mind bringing it over once my friend gets here?"
"Certainly. Will that be all?"
"Yes. Thank you." With her deep blackberry-red fingernails, she punches a few buttons on the register. She spins the tiny analog monitor to face her before his total is displayed.
"It's on the house Mr. Mister."
She flashes him another smile and he tells her he'll be out on the patio.
She sets his tea down in front of him. "You'll have to forgive me, coincidentally this is the only other magazine subscription the café has. But, luck for you, you aren't featured in this week's issue." She then sets the magazine down for him to thumb through while he waits. "When should you be expecting your friend, I can point them in your direction when they get here."
"I can have her waffle put in a to-go container for you." The whole time Pierce thinks about it the short employee has her eyes fixed on him. "Sorry. I don't mean to stare. I can't tell which one it is. I don't think I knew that your eyes were blue either. Would I have read that somewhere?"
"I don't think so." He answered astounded by her forwardness.