[ If you have been linked here directly, please click here first to read the disclaimer. ]


It's been a whirlwind of a year in the life of Gunther Goth, town founder and CEO of DP Corporate. A fire that partially destroyed his home, a divorce from his wife, and his subsequent coming out as bisexual have all led to him rarely being out of the public eye. Such a year as that might have cowed a lesser man, but when we paid a visit to Gunther and his new partner Valois Fulcanelli, we found two incredibly happy men in a rock-solid relationship built on a foundation of love, laughter, and mutual respect.

I think it's safe to say that this has been something of a year for you.

Gunther: *laughs* I think we can say that, yes. "Rollercoaster ride" may be a clichéd phrase, but if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that things become clichéd only because they're repeatedly proven to be true.

Talk us through how you met.

Gunther: It was at my annual party—

Valois: —which I am afraid to say that I blatantly gatecrashed.

Gunther: He did. Shocking behaviour, really. My marriage was already pretty much over at that point, so when this gorgeous guy with the red hair showed up out of nowhere, sat down at the piano, and started playing Beethoven...

You're a pianist, Valois?

Valois: I play sometimes, but no. Not a professional pianist. I am what you might call a gentleman of fortune. I go where Fate leads me, and to my everlasting happiness and joy she led me here.

Well, and you're something of a poet, too.

Gunther: That'll be the French blood in him. He's also an amazing chef, fluent in several languages—including Latin— and something of a wine and book connoisseur.

You'll make him blush...

Gunther: Actually, I don't think I've ever seen him blush.

Valois: Not through lack of trying on your behalf!

This is a side to Gunther Goth that Sunset Valley has never seen before. Behind the hard-headed businessman there rests easy a man who is deeply in love, a man who is completely relaxed—to the point of frequent laughter throughout this interview—and a family man whose face lights up at the mention of his son.

How has your son, Mortimer, taken the year? It must have been quite hard on him, with his parents divorcing, his mother's illness, and now a new love in his father's life.

Gunther: I couldn't be more proud of Mort. He was away at school when the fire broke out; a fact for which I will forever be thankful. He's taken everything in his stride, although he's understandably upset about his mother's illness. I am, too. No matter what passed between me and Cornelia, I would never wish her to be in the condition she is in now.

And you, Valois? Do you feel accepted into the family?

Valois: Absolutely, without a doubt. Mortimer has a wise soul in a teenaged body. I have never felt anything less than welcomed wholeheartedly by him.

Gunther: Your culinary abilities helped, admit it.

Valois: *laughs* Well, there is that saying about the way to a man's heart being through his stomach, yes.

What are your plans for the future?

At this, they exchange a look. It's the silent communication that those completely comfortable in their partner's company will recognise. Gunther's eyebrows raise slightly, and in return, Valois gives him a faint nod and a smile.

Well, now I'm curious!

Gunther: *deadpan* I shall, of course, continue as CEO of DP Corporate. And, I believe Valois will continue gentleman-of-fortune-ing, whatever that is. Do you plan to get a proper job, Valois?

Valois: Loving you is a full-time employment, you know that.

Gunther: Oh shit! *laughs* He always knows how to turn me into mush. Damned Frenchman!

Valois catches up Gunther's hand and kisses the back of it, in classic French fashion. The normally-stoic Mr Goth melts like butter in the sun, leaning his head against Valois's shoulder.

Gunther: Oh yeah, there was something else. We're engaged.

Congratulations! I had noticed the rings, actually, but assumed they were simple gifts. So, who popped the question?

Valois: He did. On a quiet night in, in front of the fire last week.

Did you get down on one knee, Gunther?

Gunther: I'm an old-fashioned guy. Of course I got down on one knee! And, luckily for me, this gorgeous man beside me said yes.

So, Sunset Valley has a big wedding to look forward to? Have you set a date?

Gunther: A tentative one, but we won't be making it public yet. My secretary has already bought her outfits, though. She pestered me to tell her the colour scheme so she could go shopping.

And the colour scheme is...?

Gunther caresses Valois's hair, earning himself a grin from his fiancé.

Valois: He insisted that red was involved. I cannot for the life of me think why.

I have to say, your hair colour is very unusual, Valois. And, I suspect, natural?

Valois: Yes, I was born with it. It has certainly got me noticed throughout my life and been a conversation-starter, for better or worse. And, since I have grown quite fond of it, I now play upon it and always wear something red, have red in my home, and so forth.

What initially attracted you to Gunther?

Valois: His strength, and his vulnerability. His heart. Naturally, his looks, because Dieu, he is handsome! But mostly... yes. His strength, vulnerability, and heart.

And you, Gunther? What initially attracted you to Valois?

Gunther: The way he always knows just what to say and do. It's like... [ here he smiles ] It's like he can read my mind, knows when I'm stressed or upset, and those are the moments when he's there; right there for me. And, of course, he's utterly, gobsmackingly beautiful.

Well, I'll admit that a few of my female colleagues were pretty jealous of me when they learned I was coming here to do this interview. Valois has caused quite a stir since he came into the public eye recently.

Gunther: Well... damn! That's a blush! I see a blush! I've been trying for months to raise one of those!

Valois looks mildly embarrassed at all the attention, so we take pity on him. Sort of.

So, tell us all about yourself, Valois.

Valois: *laughs* Saints me protègent! I am beset from all sides! Let me see now. I was born in France, which you may have gathered from the accent. I was raised by my mother alone, left home aged... approximately nineteen. I travelled the world somewhat, settled back in France and learned a trade—

Which was...?

Valois: Well, if the gentleman-of-fortune-ing—as Gunther so succinctly put it—doesn't work out, I am a vintner by trade, so I could always return to that. I own several vineyards back in France.

And you say you travelled? Backpacking?

Valois: Not quite. I had a little money, so I managed to stay in hotels as opposed to hostels. I spent a few years on boats and trains and planes; London, Cairo, and other places. It was quite educational.

Do you have plans for a honeymoon at all?

Gunther: Egypt would be wonderful. I've always wanted to go there.

Valois: Then it looks as if we shall be honeymooning in Egypt.

Sadly, our half hour is up, as Gunther has kindly fitted us in before he has to go to work; on a Saturday, no less. Ever the businessman, he hasn't risen to where he is today by resting on his figurative laurels. We stand up and shake hands.

Valois is bemused when I ask him if he'll sign a Polaroid of himself for one of the girls in the newsroom. Nonetheless, he is a gentleman, and poses for the picture before dutifully autographing it. And Alec, our photographer, snaps one final shot that sums up this relationship and how it's changed Gunther Goth in fundamental ways. As we leave, Gunther jumps onto Valois's back and starts kissing his cheek; both of them laughing. It's a delightful sight to leave on. We wish them all the luck in the world together.

[ Please feedback on this post on the blog. ]

next chapter