Three things Darcy never said aloud between Pemberley and Lambton. You may call it a wee bit of fan fiction, if you must. It's merely a reading between a few lines.
I do not have the words to properly express how her scathing view of me has awakened my understanding of my own damnable reserve. I will never have my friend’s open temperament, but I must and will conquer the hidebound conceit I have developed in the name of pride.
At the same time, I will not be convinced our previous exchanges were all one-sided. She does not know her own mind as well as she seems to know everyone else’s. I must believe I still have a chance with her. If she but looks truthfully into her own heart, she will find me there.
My regard for her was never allayed, it is now unreserved and unqualified; would that I could tell her so to ease her cares. However, I make certain it would serve only myself at this time, and add to, rather than diminish, her present concerns. Let my actions serve her, instead; I will do what I can to protect her family from extortion, and from ruinous gossip if at all possible. I will fix this for her sake, though she need never know of it. I will love her for her sake rather than purely my own.
I reread Pride and Prejudice yesterday. I mean all the words of the actual book. But I will suggest what I always do if you haven't read it in awhile; listen to an audiobook of it. There are plenty and they can be had inexpensively. Good readers enhance a story immensely.
Unlike in the movies, the book makes it clear that Elizabeth is earnestly searching her heart from May through September, and that she is aware Darcy's feelings for her remain, but she doesn't understand why, nor how to interpret her reaction to them. And the good movie does a pretty good job of showing us his heart, but leaves a lot out in showing it to her. We will not regard the pig movie at all.
Except now I must have another say about that...
A. "And is this all?" cried Elizabeth. "I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter!" Do you imagine a girl who thinks people are excited because pigs have gotten into the garden lives in a home in which they can actually be found running through the kitchen?
B. "They returned, therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where they lived and of which they were the principle inhabitants." Their father owns the estate; though he does not have a great deal of cash to hand, they do not live in squalor or run through fields in their semi-transparent nightrails. And they do not wander through life never having tidied their hair.
Back to the thing. The book is rich in demonstrating Elizabeth's curiosity over Darcy's feelings during her time at Lambton and afterwards back at Longbourn. Her prejudice does not allow her to see how she can be the object of desire for a man who could have any object he desired. But it helps that he is seven years older than her, on his end. Because he cannot stop wanting what he wants, he first justifies it and then later figures out what really matters about it.
And, by the way, that's one difference between him and Mr Knightley, who is ten years Darcy's senior. Knightley does not have pride of place to overcome, true, but he also has grown comfortable loving someone who will continue to both agitate and inspire him. It's how we as readers are made to believe it will last.