To be completely honest, I think even though Eric already shot down his own suspicions that Ariel was the girl that saved him, I think he still has a very small part of him that believes that it really was her that saved him on the beach that day. Look at the way his facial expression slightly changes when he’s holding her. The back of Ariel’s cloth/dress thing that she has on shifts just a tad as Eric pulls her closer to him. He doesn’t squirm when Ariel moves her fingers on his neck and shirt. I’ll always believe that Eric has hope that she was the one from the beginning, voice or no voice.