Rachel J. Gottlieb ’09 and Eric T. Smith

Sometimes it takes married couples years to be able to finish each other’s sentences. But Eric T. Smith, the fiancé of Rachel J. Gottlieb ’09, didn’t even need to propose to her out loud.

On a “makeshift” Valentine’s Day date in late February, Gottlieb and Smith were walking along a pier near the Boston aquarium when she felt him carving a message on her back with his finger, writing slowly and carefully so she could understand. The letters spelled out “M-A-R-R-Y M-E.”

“When I turned around, he had the ring out,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb met Smith during their sophomore year of high school in Rochester, N.Y., but Gottlieb says “you can’t really quite classify us as high school sweethearts.”

They kept in touch when Gottlieb came to Harvard and Smith started school at Michigan State University, but they only started dating last year, when Smith came to visit Gottlieb in Boston for dinner in the North End and a walk around the city.

The couple will tie the knot on June 26, 2010, Gottlieb said, adding that they’re still trying to decide between two locations.

Gottlieb said that she and Smith will spend the summer getting a head start on planning the wedding, since starting in the fall, it will be harder to find a spare moment.

Gottlieb, a biochemical sciences concentrator, will begin medical school at Johns Hopkins University, and Smith will take on a public-sector consulting job with IBM. They will live together in Baltimore.