Poirot excelled at observing people. He enjoyed watching others and wondering about their previous experiences and what they were thinking. Currently he was observing how the leather gloves stretched over the curves of Hastings' hand as he gripped the steering wheel. Poirot disliked Hastings' car and how fast Hastings preferred to drive, but he could admit to himself that he took pleasure in the prestige of owning such a fine car and of being driven around.
He could also admit how much he loved to watch Hastings drive. He mused on the nature of love and desire, and how it made such mundane tasks as driving, playing golf, or napping seem more enjoyable to watch. The few games of golf he had deigned to play had offered little in the way of stimulation for his little grey cells. Watching the cloth of Hastings' jacket stretch over his trim back as he swung the gold club was much more stimulating. Poirot's sofa was uninteresting but suitable because it matched the rest of his suite. However, plunk a sleepy Hastings upon that sofa, and he had a difficult time concentrating on other matters. And as for driving?
Yes, the driving.
Hastings had caught him once before in such a reverie, and as they were not yet lovers – he had not yet even figured out for certain whether Hastings would be approachable – Hastings had assumed the worst.
"What is wrong?" Hastings had asked.
"Wrong, mon ami?" Poirot had said, as if he had not just been thinking such desirous thoughts about his companion.
"Yes, you've been staring at the wheel for nearly an hour. Am I driving too fast for you?" Hastings had said in exasperation.
"Non," Poirot had replied calmly. "Your driving is perfection, Hastings."
Hastings had given him a skeptical look, and resumed their course.
Poirot was pulled from his current reverie when Hastings stopped the car at the side of the road. The place was deserted but for a few cows and a lot of long grass. Hastings turned to him, a question in his eyes. He was dressed in his leather driving jacket and white polo-neck sweater, and his hat was pulled over his brow at a rakish angle.
Poirot could only stare, but staring was perfectly acceptable this time.
Hastings smiled, and bent forward to kiss him. Their kiss was deep and lusty – the sort they should have indulged in right before bed rather than in an open field miles from the nearest inn – but Poirot cared little for practicality at this moment. He released his cane, and embraced Hastings, pulling him closer.
When they pulled away – just far enough to breath but close enough to feel the heat of each other's skin – Hastings murmured, "Good lord."
Poirot pressed a kiss to Hastings' cheek, and then murmured in his ear, "Mais oui, Hastings, you have caused the fire to rouse itself."
Hastings shivered a bit at his words, and said, "You could've picked a better time, Poirot."
Poirot kissed him, a short, biting kiss that suggested Hastings had better things to do with his mouth than speak. Hastings responded with a frank eagerness that always delighted Poirot. Poirot rested his own gloved hands on either side of Hastings' jaw, and deepened the kiss further. He could feel Hastings' leather-clad hand stroke down his chest, his stomach, and he shifted his legs so that Hastings' hand could explore further.
He could feel Hastings' breath on his cheek, and he realized that it was a lot warmer than he was used to and also a bit wetter. He opened his eyes, and saw a large, black, and very wet nose next to his head.
Poirot would never admit that he shrieked, but Hastings would swear – even when they were sitting in front of the fireplace as old men – that Poirot shrieked some startled French and practically leapt into Hastings' lap.
Hastings laughed, and said, "She's just a cow, Poirot. She won't hurt you."
"Then explain the cow's prurient interest, Hastings!"
"She's just curious," he replied with another laugh. He hugged Poirot to him, and said, "We should leave before the farmer comes to look for her."
Poirot returned to his seat with obvious reluctance, and continued to lean against Hastings until they had driven away.
"Fire's gone, I'd say," Hastings said, his expression sympathetic.
Poirot looked at his kiss-swollen lips, which were curved in a gentle smile, and his mussed hair. Still dressed to rakish perfection and, most importantly, entirely Poirot's.
Poirot smiled, and, "Non, mon chou, merely banked." He leaned over to press a kiss to the corner of Hastings' mouth. "You will find us an inn, soon, yes? Preferably with the sturdy walls."
Poirot smiled when he felt the car speed beneath his feet.