Author's Note: I'm surprised it took me so long to start a Tony/Michelle story, especially since they are the iconic 24 couple. I was inspired by the many wonderful stories that I found on this site. And as usual, we start at the beginning: when Michelle first comes to CTU and catches the eye of one Tony Almeida. ;) (I must apologize ahead of time since I am definitely not an expert on the world of government agencies, espionage, computers, and such. But, hopefully, you will all be so enthralled by the Tony and Michelle romance that it won't be too obvious.)

Tony scratched his cheek in frustration as he walked back to his station. Mason had decided that since it was a slow day in the terrorist world that it would be the perfect opportunity for Tony to finish up all the mundane paperwork. One would think that being the second-in-command would mean that he didn't have to do the work of a glorified secretary – apparently, that assumption was wrong. Not only that, but Mason had ordered him to basically babysit the new IP manager for the day; and knowing his luck, this Michelle Dessler would turn out to be some pain-in-the-ass, power hungry Nina Myers clone. Nina Myers – he still couldn't think of her without feeling angry, even after all this time. She had taught him a valuable, but painful, lesson; and he'd been wary of relationships ever since – and that made him even angrier since it meant that she was still affecting his life.

Because he was lost in thought and his attention was elsewhere, he didn't notice the striking woman waiting at his station until he was only a few feet away. She was patiently standing near his station, actively absorbing everything around her with a keen eye. If Tony hadn't been staring at her and seen her briefly bite her bottom lip, he would have never guessed that she was remotely nervous. Her curly hair had been tamed into a low bun, revealing the delicate curve of her neck. Everything about her looked soft and delicate … and touchable. Tony stopped himself before his thoughts went any further. No mixing of his personal and professional life.

Tony cleared his throat, catching her attention. She turned towards him, and his heart stopped for a second. She was breathtakingly gorgeous … and he was in trouble. Without betraying his emotions, he calmly stuck out his hand for a handshake.

"I'm assuming you're Michelle Dessler, our new IP manager from Division. I'm Tony Almeida, Chief of Staff and your personal tour guide for the day."

Michelle shook his hand briefly, having caught the sarcasm in his voice. A little annoyed, she coolly replied, "That won't be necessary, Mr. Almeida. I'm sure you've got better things to do than to show me around. Just show me where my station is, and you can go back to whatever you were doing."

Tony couldn't help but admire her response. Apparently, Ms. Dessler was not easily intimidated. "Call me Tony. Your station is right over there." He pointed to a desk with multiple monitors across from his, only a few feet away. "Here's your access card and a file with all the information you'll need. If you've got any questions, just let me know."

"Thank you," she replied, taking the card and file from his hands. Without a glance backwards, she brusquely walked to her chair. Tony watched her for a moment then turned back to the task at hand. Judging from the electric jolt he knew they'd both felt when their hands had touched, he was royally screwed.

Michelle's hand still tingled from having touched Tony's. She gave it a slight shake under her desk to try and get rid of the unwanted sensation. Being attracted to her boss was not a good idea. Too bad her heart wouldn't stop fluttering. She took a calming breath, stirring an errant curl upon exhalation, then opened the file that Tony had handed her and got to work. One thing for sure, there was no way she would give Tony the satisfaction of asking him for his help.